Back Online: Simon Furman on Terminator: Revolution
by Benjamin Ong Pang Kean
Date: 21 October 2008 Time: 04:49 PM ET
Furman on Terminator: Revolution
The next stage of Dynamite Entertainment’s Terminator saga kicks off with Terminator Revolution, a brand new five-issue arc beginning this December.Originally announced as Terminator Infinities at this past summer’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, Revolution will team veteran scribe Simon Furman with Dynamite’s rising star artist Lui Antonio. The story will pick up after the events at the end of the earlier Terminator: Infinity where T-Infinity, a temporal terminator created by Skynet to fix fluctuations in the time stream, was sent to terminate Tara, wife of resistance leader John Connor. We spoke with both Nick Barrucci, Dynamite’s president and publisher about the title change, the strengths of the creative team and the future of the Terminator comic book property at the company.
After that, we turned to writer Simon Furman to discuss about time travel and alternate realities, Master Mold and Sarah Connor as a Terminator? Maybe… not… what you might expect. Read on! Newsarama: First off Nick, why the title change to Terminator Revolution now? Nick Barrucci: The titles were too close together, and while Infinities seemed like a good title at the onset, it seemed that Revolution fit the storyline much better. We weighed it till the last second when the ads were going in to Diamond Previews Magazine, and it was a judgment call. The story is the same, the creative the same, but the title is now Revolution. NRAMA: What does a veteran writer like Simon bring to the project? (apart from the fact that he's practically Mr. Transformers, of course) NB: That’s actually part of the title of the next story arc. “Terminator: Mr. Transformer”. Seriously though, Simon is a professional. We love working with him, and he loves working on books featuring man and machine, so to speak. There’s something about his Terminator stories that just read so well. It’s always an honor to be working with him. As far as what does he bring [to the project], he brings great stories, and that keeps fans coming back. The hardest part is Simon’s finding time in his busy schedule to work on [these] stories. NRAMA: What about artist Lui Antonio? How'd he get from Red Sonja to Terminator? And what makes him the right person for the job? NB: I’d love to say this was planned, but this was pure luck. Lui had just finished working on some Savage Tales stories, and we needed to give him a project. He had been doing great “swords and sandals” comics for us (for lack of a better phrase). We asked him if he would mind “spreading his wings” so that he could start right away. He knocked it out of the park. I was thrilled to see how great his art looked. He went all in for this, and gave it his all, and the results are nothing short of spectacular. NRAMA: Is Dynamite considering expanding the Terminator universe like what you guys are doing with Battlestar Galactica? Off the top of my head, I'm thinking about the events that led to the passing of Sarah Connor, the early days of John Connor following the death of his mother, tales from the future, etc. NB: OK, who let you in to our files? When were you in our offices? Actually, it’s funny you should mention that, as one of the projects we were looking at is Terminator: All Out War (working title), and starting to hit all key points. This is something that we are planning, and it would happen some time after Revolution. We love the Terminator universe, and are trying to find way to tell more stories. NRAMA: Over to you now, Simon. As you said the last time we chatted about this project, this is set after T3: Rise of the Machines. Since it’s its own continuity, i.e. the Dynamite continuity that began with Terminator: Infinity with characters like Tara Holden (now Connor) and T-Infinity added to the mix, why do you think the concept of time travel and alternate realities work for a franchise like Terminator? Simon Furman: As soon as you introduce the concept of time travel (which in its own way opens up the concept of alternate realities) it means you can go anywhere, do anything, even feature characters already/technically dead. It really just generally broadens the base of what’s possible in terms of storytelling and story direction. Because time travel was at the heart of Terminator universe from the very beginning, it just seems a kind of vital ingredient now. That’s why I was so keen to put the T-Infinity in there. In many ways, the character epitomizes the Terminator franchise itself! For me, if there weren’t a time travel element, even if it’s just one of those loops like Kyle being John’s dad and now, in Infinity/Revolution, John becoming a surrogate father to Kyle, somewhere in the story, it just wouldn’t seem like Terminator to me. But of course, time travel as a story element is a two-edged blade, get it wrong and it’s just a bloody mess. So that element in the story really keeps me on my toes as a writer and, I hope, makes the end product that much sharper. NRAMA: For the sake of those just joining us, can you briefly tell us about Dynamite's version of John Connor? Why is he still being targeted by the Terminators from the future? SF: Strangely, in neither Infinity nor Revolution is John [the one] being targeted directly, [at] least not ‘adult’ John. In Infinity the target is ‘Uncle Bob,’ in Revolution (possible spoiler alert, though it’s pretty well flagged at the end of Infinity) it’s Tara Connor. But, of course, nothing is straightforward in the Terminator universe. So, in Infinity, when Uncle Bob comes under fire from the T-Infinity it’s at a point where John is just emerging into the post-Judgment Day/Crystal Peak world and desperately needs his guidance. And anyway, John just kind of assumes the T-Infinity is after him and so ends up putting himself in the firing line. But, in the kind of contradictory way of Terminator, John actually is the target in Revolution. Or at least, ‘a’ John is. All will be revealed! Suffice it to say that Revolution has its feet in more than one time zone, with parallel intersecting storylines. Phew! NRAMA: Speaking of Terminators, there's T-Infinity and you'll be introducing an all-new Terminator called a Dire Wolf. Is there a Master Mold-type figure that controls all the various Terminator models? SF: Throughout Infinity and Revolution we reference what we’re calling the Skynet Hub, the very core of the A.I. that originally instigates Judgment Day. This is the kind of reasoning, strategizing, continually evolving/upgrading bit that so far the Resistance haven’t managed to track down/isolate/destroy. By 2033 or whenever, a lot of the Skynet infrastructure is gone, torn down, and ostensibly the humans have won the war for planet Earth. But there’s still this little bit of Skynet that takes a licking and keeps on ticking, and it’s the most dangerous and insidious bit of all! NRAMA: Even though Sarah Connor died of leukemia, she will be featured "heavily" in the new series. Will her appearances be in the form of flashbacks or are we looking at the possibility of her returning as a Terminator model? SF: Like I say, Revolution has its feet in two different time zones, and in one of those Sarah Connor is still very much a force to be reckoned with. The twist I guess is just how the two time zones link up in Revolution, on a very personal, intimate level, and that’s where Sarah will really come into her own as a character in this series. NRAMA: How many issues are you committed to? What else have you got planned for Terminator fans? SF: Revolution, like Infinity, is a 5-issue arc. Where the story goes beyond that, I don’t currently know. I just hope whatever Dynamite have planned that somehow I’ll be involved. I can’t stress enough how much I love the Terminator universe. It’s kind of a dream job to be pushing the story of John and Sarah in new directions. A real labor of love. All I hope is it shows in the finished product.