Killing John Connor, Evil Superman, Old Batman and Ideas Hollywood Needs to Get Over | Fanboys Anonymous
It absolutely bugs the living hell out of me when I see franchises going down the same exact path over and over again with the philosophy in mind that it's "something different", as if different automatically means good by default, and that just because they failed to do it right the first time means they can keep trying until they do, and keep saying it's different.

This latest Terminator film has officially crossed over in my mind from "most likely going to suck" to "definitely going to suck" with leaks of the plot that seem to confirm exactly what I was suspicious of. More on that, later.

First, I want to vent about this trend that we've been seeing for the past decade or so.

Christopher Nolan's Batman films had the origin of Batman, then a Batman who gave up after 2 years or whatever, and then a retired "old Batman" in The Dark Knight Rises. The series completely skipped over Bruce Wayne being Batman, but whatever, it served the purpose of that trilogy.

Then, to follow that up, we had this birth of a new multi-film franchise with the Justice League, and yet, Zack Snyder decides he wants to START with "Old Batman" again? Why?? We got two films out of Batfleck before everything went to hell and now, the new Batman film—if it ever actually happens—thankfully is going with a younger Batman. Hopefully, they don't make the mistake of making him Old Batman by the second film.

Daniel Craig's James Bond followed the same pattern. The first film was his origin, the second film was a direct immediate follow-up, and then poof, he's Old James Bond for three films, because someone was super into the idea of asking the question "Wouldn't it be interesting if we had a 007 who was struggling with his age? We haven't seen that before" and pulled the trigger in the THIRD film in the series, rather than the fifth or so. Then, they had nothing to follow it up with but retreading that same pattern.

It seems there's a tendency to want to have Evil Superman on the big screen. He wasn't as good of a guy in Man of Steel, he was hated in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and a portion of Justice League revolved around Evil Superman (which would have been much bigger in the original idea). Apparently, Supergirl just did their version of the Red Son storyline, and Red Son is going to get an animated film adaptation soon, too. Two more variations of Evil Superman to go along with the Return of Superman animated film that addressed that idea and has been made twice.

Jurassic World was just a worse version of Jurassic Park, and the sequel was a thinly-veiled copy/paste of The Lost World in a lot of ways.

And here we are, getting ready for Terminator: Dark Fate and they're killing off John Connor again.

This is an idea that Hollywood has been trying to do for a LONG time, and they've already just about done it twice before, but that wasn't enough.

At first, it was Terminator Salvation, with the original plot being that John was killed and Marcus took up the mantle. Bait and switch. We got you! John wasn't really the savior of humanity like you thought, because he was just an inspiration and a name that people needed to get behind and this other dude could wear his skin or whatever and fulfill that role! Aren't we clever?

Thankfully, they were talked out of that, and the film went down the way it did.

But then, Terminator Genisys happened, and surprise surprise, John's evil in this and totally not the savior we all thought he was! Let's kill him off!

And now, Dark Fate is going to have a plot where Skynet is renamed Legion and they kill John, just so we could have a NEW SAVIOR who is just "female John Connor...wouldn't that be a neat twist?"

You might as well name her Joan Connor...

No. It isn't original, as you've done it before. It isn't different, as it's happened twice. It didn't work the previous two times and it won't work this time. You're just rehashing the same exact plot, but throwing away the entire purpose of the only two films in this franchise people actually care about and consider to be good, all at the fan service of your own idea that you are valuing over everything else.

You want to know the reason Star Wars is in shambles now compared to what it was before The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi came out? Because this new regime has 1) repeated everything from the original trilogy, and 2) spat in the face of the films before it in order to replace those characters with their own versions.

Yes, there are misogynist idiots out there who don't like Rey strictly because she's a woman and any female protagonist, no matter how great she would be written, would bother them. But there are more people like myself who hate how she is a poorly written protagonist who happens to be female, and who is prioritized over the previous characters. Anakin, Obi-Wan, Luke, Leia, Han, Lando and everyone did everything they did in order to WIN, only for it all to be thrown away because "REY has to be the one who really wins, and if you think we did a bad job with our crappy writing and our preferential treatment to our own characters, we'll call you sexist, because clearly, your problem was that she was a woman, even though that's not what you're complaining about."

Here is my issue with this new Terminator plot. I have no problem at all that the heroic Terminator is a woman. In fact, that's pretty awesome, and I'm glad they're doing that, as it not only provides a positive role model for the young girls watching the film, it's also a subversion of expectations and something we haven't seen before outside of The Sarah Connor Chronicles (which was so underrated). Until I'm given a reason to believe otherwise, I'm 100% down with the new Hero Terminator.

My issue is that they're killing the main character - the savior of humanity - in order to replace him with a new one, because "wouldn't that be interesting to do the same thing as before, but this time, it's a girl?"

This new girl, the new savior of humanity, if you wanted me to get on board with her as the driving point going forward, THIS is how you properly introduce that plot point:

- The year is 2019. Judgment Day never happened as it was supposed to.

- John became a senator, like the other ending of Terminator 2. He had a daughter, like in that ending, who had asked Sarah to help tie her shoes.

- Sarah has never stopped being paranoid that Judgment Day will happen, but despite her hysterical tendencies, John has never put her in a psychiatric ward, because he knows his mom is not insane. This has led to lots of criticism with everyone, including at times, his wife, Kate.

- Why not tie that name in, and if you want to up the diversity factor, make Kate of some sort of Hispanic ethnicity. It seems they're going in that direction with a focal point anyway, it helps broaden the range of casting, it's 2019 and if you have a problem with John marrying someone who isn't a blonde haired white girl, then you've got bigger problems than this movie, etc. Anyway, just a random note.

- John's relationship with his daughter (let's name her Tara, after Tara Holden) is strained. She doesn't believe in all this doomsday talk and doesn't understand why her father has spent his life fighting bills that are proposing AI and weapons manufacturing and whatnot.

- Then, it happens. A new Terminator shows up, targeting not just John, but Tara, too.

- The female Hero Terminator helps save the day and we get the backstory of why this is happening. Judgment Day was stopped, but a New Judgment Day has been created in a parallel timeline that is bleeding over into ours. You see, they DID stop Judgment Day, but they only stopped this reality's Judgment Day, and the original timeline worked out a little differently elsewhere.

- Skynet figured out time travel in the original film. What would be the next logical step if they had succeeded? They would see other realities as a threat and would advance their science to learning how to cross dimensions.

- Now, you've got a built-in excuse to have multiple different Terminator offshoot films and projects, where you're dealing with other stories and possibilities that you can fold in on itself from time to time.

- John from this timeline is considered the apex of it all. He's the one who stopped a Judgment Day from happening, and he's the biggest threat, but at this point, he's already gone ahead and done the worst thing in the world for Skynet, which is that he had his daughter.

- You see, in the grand scheme of things, Sarah was immensely important because she was fated to give birth to John, who won the war for humanity. And the next step for John wasn't death, but to be an inspiration. He's already done that with the people who follow his career (and in the other scenario, those who were inspired by his fighting in the war), and there's nobody who will look up to him as much as his future daughter, who takes on his teachings and follows in the family legacy.

- In this parallel universe timeline, John stopped the original Judgment Day, and Tara stopped the invasion from the other universe and figured out a way to keep that fight going, so they need to kill everyone before that happens and blah blah blah.

Look at that. You've got a female protagonist with an actual purpose that is new, but still fits the theme of the franchise and makes it so John isn't a failure who was kept alive just to die and be replaced. You have a female Hero Terminator because why not? You have Sarah fighting alongside John and Tara to keep the family unit strong. You can even work in Arnold in some way, but this isn't supposed to be a super in-depth fan fiction post and it's already gone on longer in that direction than I had intended, as I'm on a roll with this rant.

Killing John isn't interesting. It just shows that you have ONE idea and you keep going back to that well, and that one idea is "let's undo what the other films did." That's what has hurt this new Star Wars series. Old Batman not being able to be Batman isn't interesting anymore. Evil Superman not being able to be SUPERMAN - the embodiment of what is good - is not as impactful anymore. A James Bond who isn't able to perform has been done.

THINK OF SOME NEW IDEAS THAT DON'T REQUIRE FLIPPING THE SCRIPT. If you can't take the lore of something and build upon it in a natural way, and your only answer is to either repeat what has already been done with your new versions of the same characters (Rey is Luke, Finn is Han, Poe is Leia) or you have to throw out the entire purpose of what preceded it (Anakin is the chosen one who restores balance to The Force and Luke and company save the galaxy, only for The Force to not be in balance and The Empire to basically reform again)...then, I had to inform you, but you're a terrible writer.

Terminator 2 is my favorite movie of all time and has been since I was a child, and with each passing film, they keep trying to ruin that. And you know what? They're succeeding.

Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and podcast host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, fiction writer and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.