The Future of "Terminator" with Brian Austin Green

Tue, April 14th, 2009 at 2:58pm PDT

TV/Film
Jami Philbrick, Staff Writer

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Brian Austin Green stars in "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"

As Derek Reese on “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” Brian Austin Green is used to fighting against mankind’s extinction from Skynet. But now another giant network threatens the resistance, as it is yet to be known if FOX will renew the show for a third season.

Green worried fans in a recent episode when his character was suddenly killed, and with news of the actor recently shooting a pilot for the CW, the fate of Derek Reese seemed sealed for good. But with last weeks “game-changing” season finale that saw John Connor travel to a future where he never existed, fans were relieved to see the return of Green’s Reese.

CBR News had the opportunity to speak with Green after the season finale of “Terminator” aired. In the first installment of this-two part interview, the actor discussed his desire to portray Hal Jordan in a Green Lantern movie and the progress of “Fathom,” the Megan Fox live action adaptation of the Michael Turner comic book he’s producing. In this final part of our conversation with Green, the actor talks to CBR about the “Terminator” season ender, fans’ confusion with the story, and should it return for a third season, where “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” goes from here.

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CBR: To begin, the second season finale of “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” aired the other night and had a mind-blowing ending that made the episode feel more like a series finale. Was that intentional?

Brian Austin Green: No. The third season is going to be incredible, if it happens. There were no intentions of this being a series finale. It was absolutely a season finale. There’s a plan where this can go and it’s so good. You know, I went on some of the Terminator sites just to see what fans were saying Friday night and there is a lot of confusion over it.

You have this episode where John Connor travels to a future where John Connor never existed. I don’t know if people completely get it because we work on a string theory, which we’ve dealt with during the season. We dealt with that with Jessie, in the future that she came from there was Charles Fisher, who tortured everyone. In the future I came from, he never existed. I don’t remember him. We were still together within these parallel futures but they were still different and they still had their own paths. This is the same concept. For John Connor to travel to a future where he never existed, where Kyle Reese never left, where Derek and Kyle are still fighting side by side, where Allison (the human Cameron was based on) is still very much present, what becomes of John? What better situation for somebody to grow up in and become the future leader than that? Than to be fighting in what he’s been trying to prevent? Not just being the top dog, being listened to for everything, but having to actually listen and follow.

You know, people have been complaining about John Connor since the beginning of the series. Complaining about Thomas Dekker, that he’s too wimpy. They say, “How’s he going to be the leader of the Resistance?” But the idea of this show is that we’re giving people what you don’t get an opportunity to see in the films. Because films are only two hours long, you don’t get the creation, you only get the birth of something. On our show, you get to start with this kid who is fifteen years-old turning sixteen and becoming somebody. If he was just that from the beginning where does the show go? Where do we go if it’s just the “Bad-ass John Connor Show?” Then what do you do?

If we just run around and shoot, then there’s no growth. It’s one of the things that [Executive Producer] Josh Friedman works really hard at, creating a series that can grow, that has room to move and breath, and the show has that. You know, you get to the end of the season and so many of the episodes in the middle, that people didn’t like, start making sense. He’s a storyteller and he tells in a very biblical form. He’s very good at laying out a season and making the entire season the story, not just episode to episode. There was a lot of payoff but then again, for season three, a lot of now new unanswered questions.

Since you mentioned the confusion about the ending, do you think Weaver is really trying to help John, and did Sarah make it to the future at the very end of the episode?

No, she stayed back. She stayed in the present time. She stepped out of the time-bubble and John and Weaver went forward by themselves.

It’s not completely clear yet but what we’re sort of getting, as far as Weaver goes, is that Weaver could end up being somebody who was sent back by John Connor in the future and John Henry was created as an alternate to Skynet. Something [to use] within this present where Skynet is sending Terminators back to kill him. Something that on a tech level could really help him evolve and learn in a different way than Skynet did. It could be [something John set into place], we’ll find out if we come back and hopefully we’ll find out.

What’s the word on season three? Have you heard anything yet?

No. Nobody’s heard anything. I’ve heard a lot of speculation, you know, people saying that it won’t be back but we thought that after our first season. We thought that again after the thirteenth episode of this season going into the back nine. We’ve kind of been the show that’s fought its way through and I don’t think we’re done. I don’t necessarily think that FOX is done with it. They really enjoy the show. It’s just that a show like this has a very specific audience. It’s a really intelligent show and for the people that don’t watch it every week, there’s no possible way they could follow it. Josh doesn’t want to dumb the show down for the people that don’t follow it, just so they can tune in whenever they want and sort of pick up wherever we are in the story. So it’s a tough line, you know, it’s a very unique series that way. I mean, it’s incredibly serialized and incredibly intelligent.

Were you surprised when you found out that you were being killed off in the penultimate episode of the season or were you more surprised to find that you would be returning at the end of the finale?

Josh Friedman and John Worth both sat down with me probably three weeks before that second-to-last script even came out. They said, “Listen, we want to sit down and talk to you.” I said, “Oh this can’t be good news if the two of you are sitting down with me.” They said, “We’re killing Derek.” I said, “Seriously? You’re killing him? Like dead?” “Yeah, like Derek’s dead in the second to last episode,” they said. I was like, “Okay?” Then they said, “We’re bringing him back in the last episode.” Then they told me how and they told me why. They told me what they’re plans were for season three. And at that point I was so excited to do it.

The only thing I wasn’t excited about was showing up on the day to shoot the bit where Derek gets shot. It was an odd feeling. It was an odd feeling sort of across the board. The crew, the cast, even though they knew I was coming back in the next episode, everybody was still really uneasy about it as they’ve grown to love Derek. There’s something really endearing about him. I love the way he went out. I love that Josh made the choice that he did. He wanted him to go out like a warrior, like a fighter. There wasn’t this big, long, drawn-out thing where everyone’s crying saying, “Derek no, stay with us, don’t go.” I’m not pounding on my chest, bleeding and coughing. That’s the reality of war. When people die in war it’s not glamorous, it’s not very heartfelt. For the most part it’s immediate, it’s loss and you move on. I love the fact that Sarah, being a warrior, did just that. She took his wallet, took his gun and moved on because it’s what you have to do. I think it was really brave and really exciting.

I know people were speculating that that was why I went and did a pilot, because I was killed off the show. And that wasn’t the case at all. I knew I was coming back.

Do you think the news that you had shot a pilot along with the fact that Derek was killed so suddenly helped add to the mystery and suspense of the show?

Yeah, I actually think it worked out well for us. I mean, everybody just assumed at that point that Derek was completely finished, which was great. I think if I wasn’t doing something else, people would of said, “Oh no, it’s ‘Terminator.’ He’ll be back next episode or it’s a dream or something.”

So if there is a season three and your pilot gets picked up as well, how does that work for you as an actor? Which show are you obligated to first?

Well, the pilot I did in second position, which I was really fortunate to have happen. That’s kind of a rare case where another network will pick up an actor for a show in second position, meaning that if “Terminator” gets picked up they just have to recast. They have to go out and cast again and find someone new to play the character that I played in the pilot. They’ll have to re-shoot all my stuff and kind of start over. But “Terminator” is in top position for me. I love the show and the last thing I would want to do is leave. We all love it. As a cast, we all still talk and we’re all really hopeful that the show comes back because we really love making it. We love it. I talked to Summer [Glau] the other night. We were saying what a great episode the finale was and that we just need to keep our fingers crossed. So everybody’s hopeful.

It seems that fans have had a very positive reaction to you in your role on the show. As a sci-fi fan yourself, were you concerned with earning their approval when you first took the part?

Well, thank God they do. It could have gone either way, you know? Look, everybody knows that. It could have worked really well or not worked at all. I grew up loving “The Terminator” as a kid. When “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” came out, it was just one of the most incredible movies I had ever seen at that point. So for me, it was important. I understood that. I understand the fans in the sci-fi community. I understand their passion for what they grow up loving, watching and reading. I understand that if somebody is going to take that and recreate it in anyway, then they better do it the best fucking way they can.

I grew up loving “Star Wars.” That was my thing, “Star Wars” and “Battelstar Galactica” when I was a kid. But more so than “Battelstar” was “Star Wars,” it was just the most incredible franchise to me. You know, I was so excited when the new films were released. Then obviously, being an old school “Star Wars” fan, I was a bit disappointed by the way the new ones came together.

When I went into “Terminator,” I felt like I better fucking kick–ass with this character because he’s related to Kyle Reese. I know Kyle Reese is one of the most beloved characters in the franchise so I knew there was a lot riding on it.

Finally, without giving away any of the future plans that you and Josh Friedman have talked about, is it safe to say that if the series continues it will take place in this new timeline and continue where the finale left off?

Well, it would have to in some way. If that’s the last thing we see, I would assume -- but it’s Josh Friedman, you never know. Our first episode of the new season could be on top of a tree. Every time I think I have some sort of idea of where it’s going, and I have some lame concept of what I think it’s going to be, he always surprises me and comes up with something way better than I could have planned. So I have total faith in him. I have faith in our writing staff and our producers and everyone involved.

I think we have one of the best cast and crews on television and it’s a complete collaborative effort. Everyone in every department absolutely loves what they’re doing and everybody works as hard as they can to make the absolute best show that we can. You know, at the end of the day, even if -- God forbid -- season three doesn’t happen, I feel really fortunate to be able to look back on the two seasons that we’ve done and know that we really made two incredible seasons of television. It will be a really cool DVD series for people to watch as long as they want to.

TAGS:  terminator, terminator: the sarah connor chronicles, brian austin green

 
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