McG by Kevin Parry/
Facing a roomful of press at Comic-Con Saturday, the Terminator Salvation cast (minus Christian Bale) and director, McG, offered thoughts on just how things are shaping up for the next film installment and what kinds of themes they took to heart. Almost from the get-go, it was apparent that the filmmaker was searching for some salvation of his own.

With cast members Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard and Common seated on either side of him, McG soon owned the podium with comments that were almost sermon-like. Here are some of the highlights:

" Fear was one of the dominant themes of McG's motivation and thought process in making the film. He feels he's a different filmmaker than who he was during the Charlie's Angels era. In order to make Terminator, he said, "I needed to face what I most afraid of."

" The fear theme soon digressed into a soliloquy about modern technology (McG outed all of us, with our laptops and digital cameras strewn across the room) being a Pandora's box. Stealth bombers, Osprey planes - Thus is the encroachment of machinery increasingly evident and awe-inspiring.

(Editor's note: What about the genius of Common? Doesn't anyone want to talk about the thematic intermingling between his brilliant rhymes and the new film? Why is no one else finding an excuse just to hear the man's silky-smooth voice?)

" The specific, other-worldy look and feel of Salvation is one of the hallmarks of the new film's dystopia. McG "wanted to create a new film language" - So much so that he worked with Kodak to add three times the usual amount of silver to the film stock, which he said creates an "ethereal quality that suggests something is off." The movie, however, won't be an "art picture." (The $10 million, Merchant-Ivory films will come later, he joked.)

" Regarding the Christian Bale factor, McG speared the topic head-on with devotion and diplomacy: "Bale is all about the work," he said. "He loves his wife, his child, he loves being an actor."

" Speaking about potential overlap with The Sarah Connor Chronicles, McG chatted with the show's creator, Josh Friedman, but set out on his own path for the movie - so don't expect any Thomas Dekker cameos.

" Finally, this reporter got the answer to her burning-est question about the famed director: The McG handle is not the Hollywood flourish of an egotistical director, but rather the vestige of a childhood spent in a poor household with three Joes on the premises.

When it was all over, though, one reporter summed up the mood by saying, "I just wanted to give McG a hug. It looked like he could use one."

Are you ready to embrace his version of Terminator? - Anna Dimond