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NYCC 09: ‘Terminator Salvation’ Panel
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T4As you are all aware, we’re in the midst of the 2009 New York Comic Con. Today is a busy day with a lot going on; but for the moment, I’m here to share with you the occurrences of the Terminator Salvation panel.

The film’s director, McG, was the main man of course, and he covered many different areas of the project. Nothing breaking, but he did go into detail about the angle of the movie and when a certain question about Linda Hamilton‘s Sarah Connor character came up, let’s just say he gave a few hints about that. He also debuted some new footage, some of what which was not fully rendered yet, but was nevertheless met with much enthusiasm from the fans at the panel. Oh, and did anyone know that Michael Ironside is in this movie? Well he sure as hell is!

McG began by telling the story of how he went to Terminator‘s director James Cameron on the set of Avatar to basically get his blessing as well as see Sam Worthington, who’s also in Terminator Salvation. If you’re not familiar with this story, Cameron basically said that he wouldn’t give the movie his support, but he “…wasn’t going to shit on it either.” He didn’t feel there was any need for it, but what they were doing did sound interesting enough, so he wished it well. Cameron also went on to tell the story of how he went in to do Aliens behind Ridley Scott and everyone was asking who the hell James Cameron was — so this is all sort of poetic in a way.

Then was the story of how, in order to get him to sign on, Christian Bale made them fix the script until it was about the story and the characters and not the explosions (probably the best thing that could happen, as mindless explosions would have definitely doomed this venture). This brought about the hiring of Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) to do some rewrites and fix it all up.

To make sure everyone was following, next came an explanation of what the movie would be about. McG explained that it would tell the story of how Skynet came to power and how they went from the T-600s to the Arnold Schwarzenegger T-800 we all love so dearly. The selling point being, we will see this Judgment Day world we’ve only been teased with so many times. Later when fans asked questions, McG also touched on how this was a movie about Kyle Reese and all the sacrifices he saw people make all around him which led him to volunteer to go back in time to save Sarah Connor; also, it’s also a movie about how John Connor rose to his status as leader of the Resistance.

So all together, the movie is about the rise of John Connor, the emergence of Skynet as a powerhouse, and how Kyle Reese was lead to do what we saw him do in Terminator.

To ensure Christian Bale of the fan support he has, McG then called his house. Bale’s wife answered, so the crowd gave a great cheer in some support of the film for her to hear. A nice little moment from the panel.

The next thing talked about is Danny Elfman‘s work doing the score and how at one point they were talking about using Gustavo Santaolalla and Tom Yorke from Radiohead. Apparently they still may do some sounds for the movie, which would be amazing because Santaolalla is one of my favorites and his guitar would have been an amazing compliment to that desolate post-apocalyptic look. All-in-all, the score should be impressive either way.

This is where a big six-minute reel was shown of footage that contained some new scenes, but also some effect-heavy scenes that weren’t completely rendered yet. The extended clip showed the first meeting between Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) and the first meeting between Marcus Wright and John Connor, which is a tad intense. It was pretty damn epic, that’s for sure. There was also a lot more scenes with John Connor, but a real treat was the new stuff with Michael Ironside’s character General Ashdown, the Resistance leader in place when John Connor shows up.

After the footage, the audience got to ask some questions, and the thing about McG is he’s a funny dude, very personable, and even if you’re like, “Hey, that’s the Charlie’s Angels guy” after hearing him talk about movies, you have to have confidence that he’s do this movie justice. Of course, during the Q&A, a few people wanted to know more about the recent audio online of Bale’s on-set outburst toward the film’s DP. McG explained that in those situations, you just need to let them vent it all out and move on, and that was exactly what they did. It was also noted that this was the passion and emotion that he wanted in the John Connor character and so that was fitting.

The big questions were in regard to former Terminator actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton and would we see them in this new movie or not.

McG confessed that Arnie’s T-800 was a big part of the movie and that they were trying to figure something out on how to use it. He explained that he didn’t want Schwarzenegger NOW with how he’s aged as much as the rest of us in the past 17 years, but he did want that 1992-iah Arnie, so they were trying some things out. No word on what exactly that may mean, but at least it’s something that they’re concentrating on; perhaps they’ll do what the filmmakers on the third X-Men film did with older actors Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan to make them look younger.

Regarding Linda Hamilton, news had been going around that she would be providing voiceover as Sarah Connor for the film, but I couldn’t seem to find any concrete confirmation anywhere. When an audience member asked if she’d have any involvement, McG said he really couldn’t answer that, then followed it up by pointing out that by saying that, he pretty much gave the answer. So, she will have some involvement in the movie somehow, but we don’t know what at this point — and McG did say that Sarah Connor is an integral character in the Terminator world.

One thing I was hoping for was to get word on where the rating currently stood or where the rating may be heading toward. Dammit.

Stay tuned for much more from New York Comic Con 2009!

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