Netflix’s ‘Terminator’ Anime Series Arrives in August

The new series was created and executive produced by Mattson Tomlin

Terminator Zero

Ready to fight the future?

“Terminator Zero,” a new animated series from “The Batman” writer Matt Tomlin and Skydance Animation, will debut globally on Netflix on August 29. The eight-episode series will be a part of the already-established “Terminator” universe but will center around new characters.

Netflix also revealed the official synopsis for the new series: “Caught between the future and this past is a soldier sent back in time to change the fate of humanity. She arrives in 1997 to protect a scientist named Malcolm Lee who works to launch a new AI system designed to compete with Skynet’s impending attack on humanity. As Malcolm navigates the moral complexities of his creation, he is hunted by an unrelenting assassin from the future which forever alters the fate of his three children.”

The animation for “Terminator Zero” is provided by Production I.G., a legendary Japanese animation studio responsible for such classics as “Ghost in the Shell” and “Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.” Western audiences unfamiliar with anime probably know them from the anime section of Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Vol 1” that detailed the blood-soaked origins of O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Lui’s character).

Executive producers on “Terminator Zero” are David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger from Skydance, with Masashi Kudo directing and Tomlin as the showrunner/executive producer and writer.

There was actually an earlier animated “Terminator” series that was released online called “Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series. As the title suggests, the twelve-minute episodes were used to promote “Terminator Salvation” and was released on the now defunct Warner Bros. platform Machinima. (Machinima used game technology to create original animation; the results weren’t great.)

The last live-action “Terminator” project was “Terminator: Dark Fate,” released in 2019. Directed by “Deadpool” filmmaker Tim Miller and overseen by “Terminator” creator James Cameron, it was the third attempt, after “Terminator Salvation” in 2009 and “Terminator Genisys” in 2015, to jumpstart the franchise. “Terminator: Dark Fate” was meant to be the first chapter in a new trilogy, but was a box office disappointment. With the live-action franchise on hold (or at least sent through a time portal to parts unknown), a pivot into animation seems wise.

“Terminator Zero” premieres on August 29 on Netflix.


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