Netflix’s Terminator Zero: A Return to the Franchise’s Horror Roots

by Hazel

The highly anticipated new series Terminator Zero is set to premiere on Netflix in late August 2024. According to the creative team, this new Terminator anime is set to take the franchise back to its horror origins.

A New Vision for Terminator

In an interview with Empire, showrunner Mattson Tomlin discussed his approach to the animated series. “I wanted to lean into that body-horror, serial-killer feel of the first film,” Tomlin said. “Which was almost like Friday The 13th or A Nightmare On Elm Street.” Director Masashi Kudo added that the series incorporates elements from Japanese cinema, specifically J-Horror. “The series also incorporates J-Horror [Japanese horror] elements. [We] focused on emphasizing darkness and determining what to show and what to leave unseen,” Kudo explained.


Setting and Plot

Terminator Zero is set in Japan in the year 1997. The story follows Malcolm Lee, a Japanese scientist targeted by those fighting in the future war over his AI creations, which are intended to combat Skynet. Malcolm’s life is protected by future resistance fighter Eiko, as a new Terminator, voiced by Timothy Olyphant, relentlessly hunts him. Tomlin described the show’s new Terminator as “very spooky” and “someone you do not want to meet down a dark alley,” giving him the internal nickname “Creepy Fish Man.”


Characters and Insights

Tomlin delved deeper into the characters, particularly Eiko. “The model for Eiko was Kyle Reese. Her motives are grey at first. But she’s hiding something meaningful, and when it’s revealed, it will hit audiences like a fucking two-by-four.” This complexity adds depth to her character, enhancing the narrative’s suspense and emotional impact.


Production and Animation

The series is being animated by the renowned Japanese studio Production I.G., known for their work on Tower of God and Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War. Kudo, the anime’s director, brings a wealth of experience and a unique artistic vision to the project.


Release Date and Synopsis

Terminator Zero will premiere on Netflix on August 29, 2024. The official description reads:

“2022: A future war has raged for decades between the few human survivors and an endless army of machines. 1997: The AI known as Skynet gained self-awareness and began its war against humanity. 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.”

Fans of the Terminator franchise and new viewers alike can look forward to a thrilling and dark journey back to the roots of this iconic series with Terminator Zero.


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