Terpenoids are a group of natural products that have a variety of roles, both essential and non-essential, in metabolism and in biotic and abiotic interactions, as well as commercial applications such as pharmaceuticals, food additives, and chemical feedstocks. Economic viability for commercial applications is commonly not achievable by using natural source organisms or chemical synthesis. Engineered bio-production in suitable heterologous hosts is often required to achieve commercial viability. However, our poor understanding of regulatory mechanisms and other biochemical processes makes obtaining efficient conversion yields from feedstocks challenging. Moreover, production from carbon dioxide via photosynthesis would significantly increase the environmental and potentially the economic credentials of these processes by disintermediating biomass feedstocks. In this paper, we briefly review terpenoid metabolism, outline some recent advances in terpenoid metabolic engineering, and discuss why photosynthetic unicellular organisms-such as algae and cyanobacteria-might be preferred production platforms for the expression of some of the more challenging terpenoid pathways.