The Connor Wars Writer’s Room 41 – How To Do It

I thought I’d take a few moments and give my thoughts on Terminatory production items. As this is a “Writer’s Room” entry, I think it’s fair to say there will be some thoughts on TCW as well.

I’ve recently been receiving queries from the interwebs asking when TCW is going to come out, where it can be found on DVD, etc. In coincidental news, just a few days ago, an announcement was made that a prodco was planning on doing a new movie (not based on TCW), Terminator 3000, that would be animated 3-d. The day after the announcement came the cease-and-desist from the franchise owners. Obviously, despite the cancellation of the Sarah Connor Chronicles and the disappointment that was Terminator 4, there is still a lot of interest in the stories in this universe.

When I was reading the press release concerning Terminator 3000, all I could think was that this didn’t sound very good. To be fair, given the current state of the technology, I’m not at all on the 3-d bandwagon. So, just saying you want to release a movie in 3-d immediately makes me question the soundness of the decision. Mostly, though (and this is just my uninformed opinion), this sounded like  a group trying to cash-in instead of people actually passionate about adding to the franchise. They thought they found a loophole.

In contrast, you have the Connor Wars. This was most definitely a project done out of passion for a terminator-populated timeline. It was consciously written without budget considerations, so it could never actually be a TV series without a lot of rewriting to shoehorn it into a budget more fitting for a medical drama rather than the SF-sized budget it deserves. Because of that, I’ve long though that the only way you could really do justice to TCW was to do it in animation (much as Zack Whedon is doing in comic form with The Terminator 2029).

Example from Ghost in the Shell

As I’ve recently blogged, I’ve been a fan of anime since I was a kidling. Anime has shown how well animation can tell a visually complex story without having to incur severe budget problems. I honestly think that TCW, and even the Terminator franchise itself, could fit very well within this framework.

I’m not talking 3-d stuff. This would be 2-d cel animation (I’m not a stickler for hand-drawn on vellum…you can use a computer). I wouldn’t be against having computer-generated elements to speed up production a bit so long as the look matched the cel work. But–and this is crucial–you have to do it all honestly. No generic syndication mouth-movement cheats. Also, it needs to not be over-stylized. While some anime tropes could be gotten away with (though aren’t necessary), something like The Clone Wars, or some of the Spider-Man series are much too severe to be easily accessible and timeless.

Example from The Clone Wars

I think this is the only way TCW could be done essentially as written. As for the official franchise… well, it needs a rethink with an eye toward doing the story right instead of trying to make a blockbuster–though if it becomes a blockbuster, I don’t think anyone would mind. I have some ideas on that which could be interesting.

So…. I’d love it if the franchise holders would consider doing TCW in some form (which, so far as I know, they aren’t). While I’m down with a CG-injected live-action version with the original actors, for what I wrote I think a high-end anime version would be the way to go. As for the movies, I’d rather the suits chose to do something good instead of trying to follow the same how-to-make-a-blockbuster-movie-for-dummies handbook that has been the cause of many disappointing releases. If they want my ideas on that, they know where to reach me.

On a different note: I have a few more “Extras” in the works. Not sure when I’ll have the time to do them up, but I hope it will be soon. Stay tuned.

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