Are You Ready For 'CONNOR'?

Get caught up on The Sarah Connor Chronicles before this Sunday's premiere!
The pilot episode is still a few days away, but The IESB's ROBERT SANCHEZ and SILAS LESNICK want to help prep you, with video interviews, clips, a music video (!), featurettes and photos from the Hollywood premiere of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fox's highly-anticipated new series.

Sarah Connor is something of a "reinvention" for the Terminator franchise, which already has conquered feature films, comic books, novels, video games and action figures, but has not gone to the Boob Tube--until now.

James Cameron's Oscar-winning 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day ended with Sarah Connor destroying the liquid metal T-1000 killer before it could terminate her son, John. Because of events in that movie, Sarah and John became fugitives from the law.

That's where Executive Producer Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds) picked up the story when he developed The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Sarah (Lena Headey of 300) still has nightmares of apocalypse and death delivered by monsters who look like men. She's still paranoid that more machines will arrive from the future to kill the boy she wasn't prepared for when she gave birth to him--the boy who purportedly will save the world years from now.

"She's a single mom," Headey told The Comics Continuum. "She's struggling with the notion of being a mother. I think she's very primal and feral in her love of John. I don't think it's particularly motherly in the conventional sense. I think it's that she would fight and die for him."

Meanwhile, 15-year-old John (Thomas Dekker of Heroes, above right with Megan Fox at the premiere) resists the mantle of leadership that, he's told repeatedly, is his destiny. After all, it's a lot of responsibility to know that you one day may lead the human resistance against the self-aware machine, Skynet--if the terminators don't get to him first.

But when a new killer cyborg from the future shows up at John's school, Sarah resists her urge to run, and instead goes on the offensive, with John by her side and the female terminator Cameron (Serenity beauty Summer Glau) as fearless protector.

26-year-old Glau (left) told The Comics Continuum that she initially was reluctant to go for the terminator role, until she discovered the character's differences from previous terminators. "Instead of making Cameron a more advanced machine by being able to turn into different things and/or being able to meld and come back to a different form, [Josh Friedman is] going more into an emotional direction."

She said she is enjoying the show's balance. "There is a lot of action. But it's also so much about the characters...and their relationships."

Headey told reporters, in a conference call this week, that she was undaunted by the physical requirements of the role--shooting guns and fighting killer cyborgs--and that she was quite capable of juggling that and the emotional demands.

"The physicality of someone like Sarah feeds into the emotional side of everything, too," said the Bermuda-born English thespian. "I love being physical with my acting. I get a real kick out of it."

What she DOESN'T get a kick out of is constantly fielding the Question That Will Never Die.

"I'm wondering if this is ever going to go away, this question," Headey said while at the celebrity-frequented Golden Apple comic shop in Los Angeles, referring to stepping into the shoes of Linda Hamilton, who originated Sarah Connor in the first two movies. "But you'll know next week that I've made her my own."

Her job should be a little easier once fans realize that the series creators have developed their OWN versions of Sarah and John, by establishing the story in an alternate timeline from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which takes place after Sarah has died.

"It’s a completely new expression of the franchise in that way," said Consulting Producer James Middleton, who was careful to add, at a January 7 press conference, that the alternate timeline won’t necessarily preclude a link between the series and the upcoming films, which he also will produce.

Obviously, The Sarah Connor Chronicles has renewed interest in the Terminator universe, as evidenced by the aforementioned new movie trilogy. The next extension of the brand will be an animated tie-in, currently called Termination, to be released after the next film, Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, hits theaters in Summer '09.

Directed by David Nutter (The X-Files, Smallville) and co-starring Richard T. Jones (Vantage Point, right), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles premieres this Sunday, January 13, at 8pm ET on Fox.

[Thanks to IAN SPELLING at SciFiWire.]
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