Shortly after the announcement that Halcyon was selling the rights to the Terminator franchise Joss Whedon put in his bid to buy the rights to the cyborg series with An Open Letter to the Terminator Owners posted at Whedonesque:
I am Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind Titan A.E., Parenthood (not the movie) (or the new series) (or the one where 'hood' was capitalized 'cause it was a pun), and myriad other legendary tales. I have heard through the 'grapevine' that the Terminator franchise is for sale, and I am prepared to make a pre-emptive bid RIGHT NOW to wrap this dealio up. This is not a joke, this is not a scam, this is not available on TV. I will write a check TODAY for $10,000, and viola! Terminator off your hands.
No, you didn't miscount. That's four -- FOUR! -- zeroes after that one. That's to show you I mean business. And I mean show business. Nikki Finke says the Terminator concept is played. Well, here's what I have to say to Nikki Finke: you are a fine journalist and please don't ever notice me. The Terminator story is as formative and important in our culture -- and my pretend play -- as any I can think of. It's far from over. And before you Terminator-Owners (I have trouble remembering names) rush to cash that sweet cheque, let me give you a taste of what I could do with that franchise:
1) Terminator... of the Rings! Yeah, what if he time-travelled TOO far... back to when there was dragons and wizards? (I think it was the Dark Ages.) Hasta La Vista, Boramir! Cool, huh? "Now you gonna be Gandalf the Red!" RRRRIP! But then he totally helps, because he's a cyborg and he doesn't give a s#&% about the ring -- it has no power over him! And he can carry it AND Frodo AND Sam AND f@%& up some orcs while he's doing it. This stuff just comes to me. I mean it. (I will also offer $10,000 for the Lord of the Rings franchise).
2) More Glau. Hey. There's a reason they're called "Summer" movies.
3) Can you say... musical? Well don't. Even I know that's an awful idea.
4) Christian Bale's John Connor will get a throat lozenge. This will also help his Batwork (ten grand for that franchise too, btw.)
5) More porn. John Connor never told Kyle Reese this, but his main objective in going to the past was to get some. What if there's a lot of future-babies that have to be made? Cue wah-wah pedal guitar -- and dollar signs!
6) The movies will stop getting less cool.
Okay. There's more -- this brain don't quit! (though it has occasionally been fired) -- but I think you get my drift. I really believe the Terminator franchise has only begun to plumb the depths of questioning the human condition during awesome stunts, and I'd like to shepherd it through the next phase. The money is there, but more importantly, the heart is there. But more importantly, money. Think about it. End this bloody bidding war before it begins, and put the Terminator in the hands of someone who watched the first one more than any other movie in college, including "Song of Norway" (no current franchise offer).
Sincerely, Joss Whedon.
How serious was he being? That’s what EW.com was wondering, so they phoned him up:
“Here’s the thing: It’s not a slam on The Terminator. I love The Terminator. That part’s totally true. I was thinking to myself, ‘Not since they auctioned off frames from The Little Mermaid have I wished I had more money this much.
“But mostly, it’s just me being a dumb-ass, because that seems to be what I do best — I’m not even very good at that. So, no, I do not think they’re going to call me and say ‘Congratulations! We’ll have that $10,000 now.’ Although, it would be non-exclusive. Other people could make Terminator movies and TV shows too. I’m just putting that out there in case you publish this.
You can read the full response – full of all the usual Jossisms – here .