EXTRA: He’s Back … But Do We Care?

When Arnold Schwarzenegger’s heroic robo-dude first sputtered, “I’ll be back,” it sounded like a promise too good to be true. But now, nine years after his last cyborg work, does anyone give a rat’s ass about “Terminator 3”? Especially if director JamesTitanicCameron isn’t behind the camera?

Schwarzenegger does, for one. He made a splash Tuesday by announcing that he’s signed on to reprise his role as the ass-kicking android in “T3,” to be produced by C-2 Pictures (run by some of the same honchos that headed Carolco, which made “T2” in 1991) and written by Tedi Sarafian of “Tank Girl” fame.

The big question is whether Cameron will entertain the notion of revisiting a franchise he created 16 years ago (with 1984’s “The Terminator“).

“My big wish is that Jim Cameron and I will work together again,” Ah-nold writes on his official Web site www.schwarzenegger.com.

James Cameron If Schwarzenegger yearns for his glory days as Cameron‘s destructo-boy, it’s understandable. Although he boasts on his site that his movies have grossed more than $52 billion worldwide, Schwarzenegger hasn’t had a bonafide hit since 1994’s “True Lies” — his last collaboration with (you guessed it) Cameron.

Since then, his action-movie crown has been tarnished by films such as “Junior,” “Batman & Robin” and “End of Days.” He also was forced to take a career hiatus in 1998-99 due to heart surgery.

Although there was no official comment from Cameron‘s company, Lightstorm Entertainment, a source close to Cameron tells Hollywood.com today that if Schwarzenegger indeed revives the “Terminator” franchise, it’ll likely be under the guiding hand of another director.

Reports our mole: “He’s not interested. This [the development of ‘T3’] has been going on for quite some time. He’s out of town and I don’t even know if he’s aware of [Schwarzenegger’s announcement] yet, but my guess is that at this moment in time, there’s still no interest.”

Don’t tell that to Schwarzenegger. You might damper his enthusiasm. On his site he gleefully exclaims that T3 “… will, arguably, be the biggest release of summer 2002 and herald the return of the blockbuster mega-movie.”