Arnold Schwarzenegger’s First TV Show Could Save His Action Career

Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t appeared in a movie in several years, but his upcoming Netflix action series Utap could transform his career.

Arnold Schwarzenegger will front his first TV series with Netflix’s Utap, which just might save his action career. After becoming Governor of California in 2003, Schwarzenegger obviously had little time for acting. Among his fans, there was much excitement over his return with 2013’s action thriller The Last Stand, but his comeback quickly ran out of steam. Projects seemingly tailor made for the screen legend such as Sabotage bombed, while his team-up with former rival Sylvester Stallone in Escape Plan was only a modest success. Even his return as the T-800 in both Terminator Genisys and Dark Fate – where his role should have been a surprise – proved disappointing.

Arnie hasn’t fronted a movie since the latter 2019 sequel, but his next big project will be Utap, a Netflix-exclusive action comedy series. While the star had guest roles on shows like The Streets of San Francisco early on in his career, Utap will mark his first time starring in a live-action series. The premise of Utap is that a veteran CIA agent (Schwarzenegger) comes to learn his daughter (played by Top Gun: Maverick’s Monica Barbaro) is also a secret CIA operative. They realized their whole relationship is a lie, and have to get to know each other while also working together. While Arnie hasn’t had a major hit in many years, Utap could be the project that turns that around. It will combine his talent for both comedy and action, and in addition to appealing to his fans, it can introduce new viewers to Arnold’s action movies.

Utap Could Reinvent Schwarzenegger’s Career

During Arnie’s movie star heyday, actors of his stature simply didn’t do television – ever. During the ’90s he was earning huge paydays for expensive blockbusters like Total Recall or Last Action Hero, and the separation between movie and TV actors was pronounced. That slowly started to evolve in later years when actors like George Clooney jumped from E.R. to films like Ocean’s Eleven, and now stars like Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts or Nicole Kidman often front miniseries too.

With films like The Last Stand, Schwarzenegger found himself in a strange place. He was once one of the biggest film stars in the world, but the kind of blockbusters that defined his career were no longer in vogue. Even quoting some of his famous lines during cameos in The Expendables movies resulted in groans instead of laughter, as they felt like an embarrassing parody. Utap has the potential to show audiences a different side of his persona, where he gets to develop a character over eight episodes. It will no doubt feature callbacks to his most famous roles, but if it can move away from parody and present audiences with a different kind of Schwarzenegger character, it just might give him a late-career comeback.

Utap Sure Sounds Like A True Lies Remake

Utap has no direct ties to Arnie’s past movies, but the setup makes it sound like a True Lies remake. Just like that 1994 James Cameron blockbuster, he plays a spy who has had to conceal his identity from his family – until his two worlds suddenly collide. It’s doubtful a True Lies 2 will ever happen, but Utap is leaning towards the same premise. Strengthening this link is the fact True Lies co-star Tom Arnold will play a guest role on Utap too. Ultimately, the show’s success will depend on Arnie’s chemistry with onscreen daughter Monica Barbaro, but hopefully, it will make a new chapter in the star’s action career.


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