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He's Back (in Comics)

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Not one who is new to writing giant warring robots, Simon Furman has been pegged as the writer for Dynamite Entertainment’s new Terminator series. He stopped by for a quick chat about the book and what his plans are.

BROKEN FRONTIER: How did you become involved with Dynamite's Terminator series? Did you know that they were pursuing the license and approach them about getting involved or did they ask you once it was all together?

SIMON FURMAN: They came to me. Though, had I known they were in pursuit of the license, I would probably have gone to them. The only real problem was maintaining my professional cool when they asked me and not just geeking out on them. The first two Terminator films are among my all-time favorites. I couldn't get the pitch onto (virtual) paper fast enough.

BF: You are mostly known in the U.S. for your Transformers work. Did you feel it was easier to go from Transformers to Terminator because of the sci-fi element? And do you feel that your profile with Transformers will help draw people into the Terminator book?

Click to enlargeSF: I'm not sure how much cross-traffic there is between the fans of one and the fans of the other. Some, I'm sure, but I'm not sure how many diehard Terminator fans will give a fig about my Transformers credentials. Certainly, as projects go, it felt an easy step from Transformers to Terminator .

The most recent Transformers series (Infiltration, Escalation , et al) have been sci-fi first and giant robot second, largely because I think today's comics buyers are both older and more sophisticated in terms of both story and storytelling.

So I was definitely in the right frame of mind for Terminator (which is very dark and adult in tone/approach, without being prohibitive for younger readers). I guess, for better or worse, I'm just the 'go-to' guy when it comes to robots.

BF: The book has been announced as "Terminator 2". However, as fans of the series saw a few years back, there was actually a Terminator 3. Why jump backwards to Terminator 2 like this?

SF: The license is Terminator 2, but there's no jump back in time. The series is set firmly after Terminator 3, and picks up on the trials of John Connor post Crystal Peak. It just means we don't reference T3 characters/action much (or at all) in the course of the series. Otherwise, this is essentially Terminator 4 .

BF: In line with that, for the continuity freaks whose heads are exploding trying to figure out how this works, can you explain your vision of the Terminator continuity? Will you be foreshadowing the future events that may have already been shown? Will there be any references to past comic book stories?

SF: My pet take in Terminator is that every film (or in this case, comic book series) is a stage in the life of John Connor. Terminator 2 - Infinity is very much the next logical step in the evolution of punk kid John Connor into John Connor the big resistance leader and champion of humankind. He didn't get there in easy steps, and in T2 - Infinity he faces his biggest test, the mother of all mountains to climb.

John's at a seriously low ebb when we meet him in Infinity #1 , and how he gets on track is the main theme here. But just in case anyone's worried, there's Terminators aplenty in there, including a whole new one, the T-Infinity.

BF: What was it like creating a new Terminator?  Seeing as how advanced they've gotten just in the last two movies, where could you look for inspiration for this new design?  And did you feel any pressure on yourself to have this one live up to the horror and excitement created by the other three?
SF:
In some ways, it was straightforward. For the story to work, this new Terminator was integral (by its very nature). And it made sense, based on what it does, that it could and would be the next evolution of the Terminators. Can't explain too much without giving the whole game away, but the clue is in the name: the T-Infinity. It does something none of the other Terminators have done.
Of course there was pressure, though. This is such a cohesive, well-planned universe, the thought of throwing something new into the mix that doesn't work (and is thereby universally panned) is terrifying. Fingers crossed...
Click to enlargeClick to enlargeBF: Was there any special research you had to do for this assignment, aside from watching a couple movies starring the Governor of California that is?

SF: I did browse a few websites, until all the alternate time lines made my head hurt. But I knew the first two films inside and out. I watched T3 again. Other than that, the story just kind of burst out of me fully formed (apologies for the revolting visual image).

BF: No problem. It’s not as if comic readers don’t see those things regularly already. [Laughs] While you were delving into the Terminator-verse, did you find any stories or ideas that showed up from there that really stood out to you as excellent representations of what can be accomplished in there?

SF: I tried not to go too much into anything else that had been done, Terminator -wise, in comic form at least. The movies were my main focus. Even if I had found an idea I'd liked, I'd probably have discarded it. These things have a way of coming back and biting you on the ass.

BF: Who were you looking forward to writing most and why?

SF: John Connor. Because here's the first time, in my opinion, he gets to be a man (and not just a kid/teen with attitude). Though there's a protector/mentor style Terminator involved, it's very much about him (finally) standing on his own two feet (without the 'mother' figure).

BF: Finally, what are your overall goals for this series?

SF: To give people what I desperately wanted myself, the 'what happens next'.   

More details on Terminator 2 - Infinity will be released by Dynamite over the coming weeks.

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