Terminator Salvation

Richard Foreman/Warner Bros. Entertainment

It's a safe bet Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't said hasta la vista to Hollywood yet.

While McG refused to confirm the news at a press gaggle in New York Monday to hype his upcoming Terminator Salvation, the helmer all but invited speculation that the Governator will be back for one more go-round as the titular cyborg. At least in cameo form.

Asked by producer Dan Lin about what surprises are in store for moviegoers, McG said with a wink and a nod: "I can't talk about it. I can't talk about the governor of California."

(WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead!)

Since winning 2003's recall election, Schwarzenegger has spent more time busting budgets than heads. His last official feature film appearance came in 2004's Around the World in 80 Days opposite Jackie Chan, and his last appearance as the T-800 in 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Terminator Salvation stars Christian Bale as the all-grown-up John Connor, leading the human resistance against Skynet and its cyborg army.

Seeking to get media types psyched about his sequel (and assuage fan fears that his movie wouldn't live up to James Cameron's classics), McG offered a sneak peek of some key scenes in what he hopes is the launchpad for a second Terminator trilogy.

Here's some of the intelligence we gathered at yesterday's event

• McG powwowed with the King of the World, who offfered tips on staying true to the mythology and characters Cameron created back in 1984: "He sort of nodded and said, 'Look I reserve the right to like it or not like it.'. . .I said 'fair enough. . .I want the film to speak for itself at all times.' He nodded and we shook hands." McG is set to show Cameron a rough cut in two weeks.

The Terminator

20th Century Fox

• On getting Bale aboard: McG visited the actor on The Dark Knight set and Bale told him, "If you can get to the script to a place where we can just read it on the stage and it would be compelling beyond all the noise and the riffraff, then we would have something to talk about." McG subsequently hired Dark Knight scribe Jonathan Nolan to tweak the script with the star in mind.

• Audiences can expect to see new faces like Anton Yelchin (playing Kyle Reese, aka John Connor's right-hand man...and father), Aussie newcomer Sam Worthington (also starring in Cameron's upcoming 3-D sci-fi epic Avatar) and Moon Bloodgood, alongside Bale, Common, Bryce Dallas Howard, Helena Bonham Carter and sci-fi vet Michael Ironside as the original leader of the resistance.

• Fanboys will get a good glimpse of the deadly T-800 model, which plays a major part of the film's story as humans are being captured and studied by Skynet to test a better, more efficient and covert Terminator.

• One of Salvation's biggest set pieces features a giant Terminator, dubbed the Harvester, that attacks a group of survivors and unleashes a pair of deadly robot motorcycle assassins.

• Another particularly intense action scene sees Connor and Worthington battle a couple of nasty Skynet waterbugs while hovering in a helicopter over a pond at night.

• Last but not least, veteran composer Danny Elfman (Batman, The Simpsons) has written a score that McG describes as "Wagner by way of John Williams."

Terminator Salvation hits theaters May 15.

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