Will McG’s ‘Terminator 5’ Be Set in the Present?

When Warner Bros. announced long ago that “Terminator Salvation” would be the first in a new trilogy of “Terminator” sequels, we all assumed that the three planned installments would exist in a chronologically contained setting, during the post-apocalyptic war between humans and machines. However, in a recent interview with McG over at Film Journal International, the director hints that “Terminator 5” might not adhere to such a strict timeline.

“I strongly suspect the next movie is going to take place in a [pre-Judgment Day] 2011,” McG told the trade publication. “John Connor is going to travel back in time and he’s going to have to galvanize the militaries of the world for an impending Skynet invasion.”

The “Terminator Salvation” director also mentioned that he thinks Connor (Christian Bale) will run into the human model for the T-1000, which was played by Robert Patrick in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” McG previously expressed interest in employing Patrick for the next installment of the franchise, but it was assumed the actor would portray the T-1000 in the post-2018 era of the fourth film. Instead, McG suggests he’ll play a scientist involved with stem-cell research, who Connor meets in the past.

If all this seems completely wrong and confusing to you, you’re not alone. As much as a straightforward, fixed-chronology trio of films sounds boring in theory, I do believe it will be more interesting, especially since the trilogy serves the double-edged function of being both sequel and prequel. For these installments to work properly, there probably shouldn’t be any time travel until the end of “Terminator 6,” when the character Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin in “Salvation”) and a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) are sent back to 1984.

According to McG’s vision, “Terminator 5” might be more like the first three movies, plot-wise, than “Salvation.” But the cool thing about “Salvation” is that it has a fresh sort of scenario to follow. Perhaps McG assumes that we’d prefer something more familiar?

Would you rather have a fifth and sixth film that moves forward in time, or do you like the idea of more travels to the past?