io9 spoke with star Lena Headey and producer James Middleton of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles today to try and torture secrets out of them, Skynet-style. Luckily, we also sent robot duplicates of ourselves back in time to infiltrate the set while they were filming, and to take out the future leader of the human resistance. Check out what we learned after the jump, and tune in when this show gets started on Sunday night.
- The show ignores everything laid down by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, especially since Sarah Connor is dead in that movie. Ouch. Although she wasn't originally supposed to be. According to James Middleton, "Early drafts of T3 had Sarah in it, and while that was eventually unable to happen, I think that was a good thing for us because it has allowed Lena Headey to come in and do such a good job as Sarah in this show."
- So during what time period is this new series set? Is it pre-internet? Middleton: "No, it's not pre-internet. Through the pilot, we deposit our heroes in the present day."
- If you're wondering how the T4 film will affect this new television series, Middleton said "I think they will naturally cross promote each other. In terms of the timelines, we've created an entirely new one for the show. We'll be following Sarah's journey through this new timeline, and we'll be staying with her on that journey. Sarah is always concerned about her mortality, if she dies, will her work be done? In terms of our show, the pilot establishes that we move away from T3 entirely. The plot is informed much more by Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
- He's also working on a new animated Terminator project, which will be a series of short animated pieces done by different animation directors, just like The Animatrix. "I'm working on a production called Termination that would use animation directors from all over. It will be like The Animatrix, but will be much more worldwide in flair. We'll have European animators along with Japanese anime auteurs.
- Since production was shut down after only 9 episodes were completed, is there any hope for more episodes this season? Middleton: "I don't know, I have a feeling that the nine shows we have will be our first season. It takes a show about nine weeks to get back up and running. Our show is very involved in terms of CGI, costumes, and sets so that preparation time is crucial. It would really be up to Fox.
- Does that mean episode nine serves as a season finale? "Actually, yes. It turns out that episode has a very big cliffhanger ending."
- Given the shortened season, where does that leave Sarah emotionally at the end of these episodes? Headey: "I think it's such a kind of ongoing evolution. Her relationship with John is reaching new depths. There's a lot of things going on with Sarah, she's learning to be a mother, she's learning what it is to live like this. It's a complete realization of what's going on."
- Are you sick or being compared or contrasted to Linda Hamilton at this point? "Yes, I'm a little tired of that comparison. Linda Hamilton will always be the original Sarah Connor, but I'm hoping to bring fresh eyes to it. It's a new era and I'm approaching it in a new way.
- Did you get banged and bruised up during the filming? Do you have any stunt injuries? "Just a lot of hand injuries, because it seems like every "breakable surface" never breaks. So you have experts telling you to 'Just hit it' and it doesn't break!"
- Given that the show is called Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, it's obvious that there is going to be a lot of interaction between Sarah and Cameron. Can you talk about that at all? "It's very complicated because Sarah has a well-earned fear of machines, yet she must keep this machine close to her in order to protect her own son. But, as the series goes on, it's impossible for Sarah and John to not become attached to Cameron as a being. We're watching Sarah deal with what is her biggest nightmare and have her embrace it each day."
- You had to re-shoot some of the scenes in the pilot because of the shootings at Virginia Tech. Would the network still make you re-shoot it today?? Were you upset about it? Middleton: "No, we actually found very clear headed people at the network, and we were all horrified by the Virginia Tech shootings. One must remember that the premise of our show is that Terminators and others are coming from the future to kill a child, and that might happen in public places. One thing we do in the show is that we really value human life. Sarah is really conscious of this as the show goes on and in thinking about who must die in the fight against Skynet.
- If you had the power to go back in time and change anything, what would you change now to make a better future? Lena: "I can't choose an answer to this one! I guess mine would involve world politics, but I won't go into that right now. Or...give me a time machine so I can erase wrinkles but not my wisdom."
- James: "I think I'd go back and change a certain election in 2000."
- Lena: "Uh, I think that's what I was trying to say, James."