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BEVERLY HILLS, California — If you see “Terminator Salvation” this weekend, you’re bound to expect some twists and turns and moments that could allude to plot points in future movies. The most significant revelation, however, might be one that is never acknowledged.
As “Terminator” fans know, the series focuses mainly on John Connor, the badass savior of mankind played by Christian Bale in the new movie. Although director McG has chosen to disown 2003’s “Terminator: Rise of the Machines,” he did keep the woman John fell in love with in that film, Kate Connor, now played by Bryce Dallas Howard. In “Salvation,” we can see that Kate is pregnant — but John and the other characters never mention it once, and it seemingly has nothing to do with the plot.
Or does it?
“That’s to be explored in the prospective second and third picture,” McG revealed when we spoke to him recently, explaining the strange phenomenon of having such an important plot point (the offspring of the franchise’s main character) never mentioned, even though it’s so obvious to the viewer. “Now, I would never be so bold to presume that there will be another [’Terminator’ sequel]. But we’ve arced out a story that includes that child and its fate and what it becomes in this world of man versus machine.”
It might just be the strangest bread crumb dropped in a recent movie. As the Terminator machines attack, resistance fighters are killed and humanity clings to its last hope, never once does John express concern for the baby. Never once does Kate reflect on the moral dilemma of bringing a child into a world of certain doom. Her baby bump seems as immaterial as the color of Bale’s pants — and Bryce Dallas Howard wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I really appreciated that every scene wasn’t about ’My child!’ ’Our child!’ ” the “Spider-Man 3” actress grinned. “They dealt with it really subtly.”
McG has made no secret about the fact that he’d like to make more “Terminator” sequels, and both he and Howard (who, coincidentally enough, had just given birth before filming “Salvation”) expect those plots to focus on the Connors’ unseen offspring.
“In the third film, it was suggested that their children together become important,” Howard said of “Rise of the Machines.” “That Kate eventually becomes the leader of the resistance when John Connor dies and that their children together become influential as well. Obviously, that’s in a future that we’re all working to prevent, because we don’t want John Connor to be killed — but it is obviously implied that there are children involved.”
And if the next “Terminator” film is set in a pre-Judgment Day 2011, as McG has said he’d prefer, perhaps the plot could involve John’s fully grown, futuristic son employing time travel. “[In the next sequel,] we also study the genesis of Marcus , the coming of time travel and the fate of John Connor himself,” the director said of his long-term plans. “We’ve marked out all those stories. And the child plays a critical role in it.”
So, to paraphrase McG: Kate’s unmentioned pregnancy might seem weird to some this weekend, but in the future, we’ll look back on “Terminator Salvation” and see a nice bit of subtle foreshadowing.
“It’s really all about family when you think about the fundamental triangle of ’Terminator.’ John Connor must send Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, then ultimately impregnate her to give birth to John Connor, who will save us all,” the director explained. “Therefore, the spawn of Connor is going to play a big role in the future.”
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Check out everything we’ve got on “Terminator Salvation.”
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