Terminator: Dark Fate--Everything We Know About The Sci-Fi Action Sequel
By 2016, the Terminator series wasn't in good health. The fifth movie in the long-running sci-fi franchise, 2015's Terminator: Genisys, had been a critical and commercial failure, and the planned sequels were suddenly in doubt. When it was reported that Terminator 6 had been removed from Paramount's release schedule, it looked like fans might have to wait for a long time for everyone's favourite time-travelling killer android to return to the screen.
But within a year, everything had changed. In September 2017, it was confirmed that not only was a new Terminator movie definitely happening, but the three people most associated with the series--creator James Cameron and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton--would be back too. With Deadpool director Tim Miller on board to direct, suddenly the series seemed to be back on track. The movie was given a summer 2019 release date--subsequently moved back to November--and the title was confirmed as Terminator: Dark Fate.
But it's fair to say that for all the millions it has made at the box office, the Terminator series has not exactly maintained a consistent level of quality over the years. No one doubts the classic status of Cameron's movies--The Terminator (1984) and T2: Judgment Day (1991)--but none of the subsequent three films are remotely in their league. In fact, for many fans, the best post-Cameron release from the series was not a movie at all, but the TV spin-off The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Nevertheless, hopes are high that Dark Fate can restore some glory to this 35-year-old series. The trailers so far are certainly action-packed, and the combination of new talent and series veterans will hopefully bring a mix of the familiar and the fresh. We'll find out in November--in the meantime, here's everything we know so far about Terminator: Dark Fate...
They'll be back
The two biggest star names in the Terminator series are back for Dark Fate--Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton. While Arnold is always a welcome addition to a Terminator movie, it's not that surprising that he might not appear; he's been in every movie to date with the exception of 2009's Terminator: Salvation, which had to make to do a CG-rendered younger Schwarzenegger. In Dark Fate, he's playing the older version of the classic T-800, who now seems to live in the woods but is brought back to help our heroes with their mission.
Linda Hamilton is a bigger coup, as she has not played Sarah Connor since T2, and she remains one of the most iconic female action heroes of all time. Hamilton and Schwarzenegger will also be joined by a third star from the T2--Edward Furlong, who played the young John Connor. It's been rumored that Furlong will appear as Connor as he did in T2, using de-aging technology to appear in flashbacks.
In terms of the new cast, Gabriel Luna plays Rev-9, the new main Terminator. Luna is best known for portraying Ghost Rider in the Marvel show Agents of SHIELD, and this latest version of the time-travelling killing machine has the ability to split into two seperate Terminator "units." Colombian star Natalia Reyes takes on the role of Dani Ramos, who is the target of Rev-9, while Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049) plays Grace, a cybernetically enhanced soldier who must protect Dani.
Who's the director?
Tim Miller is the director of Terminator: Dark Fate. This will be Miller's second feature directing credit, following 2016's hugely successful Deadpool. Miller had a previous career in visual effects, working on movies such as Thor: The Dark World and David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He and Fincher also produced the recent Netflix animated anthology sci-fi series Love, Death & Robots.
King of the world
Let's face it, if James Cameron wasn't involved, we probably wouldn't be getting another Terminator movie so soon after Genisys. After the planned Genisys sequels were cancelled, producer David Ellison approached Cameron about returning to the franchise to make something worthy of his original movies. Cameron agreed on the proviso that Schwarzenegger came back too, and in September 2017, it was confirmed that the filmmaker would indeed produce Dark Fate and oversee its storyline.
Back to the start
We've known for some time that Terminator: Dark Fate will be a direct sequel to T2. This is also the approach that last year's hugely successful Halloween sequel/reboot took; ignoring all the badly received movies in-between to follow on directly from an acknowledged classic. Of course, this is no guarantee of quality, but Halloween proved that a narrative reset and a storyline focused on recapturing what made the original so popular can indeed produce a successful, popular movie.
Time to time loop
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Miller explained that the movie will deal more directly with the effects of Connor's actions in T2 than any of the other movies that have followed. "This will be more clear when you see the movie, but the first two movies really deal with time as a loop, what's happening is the same thing that happened before and everybody is fighting to ensure that happens again," he said. "And Jim had this lucky break that he only broke that rule at the end of Terminator 2 when Sarah destroys Cyberdyne, it's the first thing that happened that hadn't happened before, and so it was going to change the future--but no one knew how. And I don't think the movies that came after it really explored that in a clean way like I believe we are, with true consequences."
What’s the release date?
Terminator: Dark Fate hits theaters on November 1 in the US, while UK audiences get it a week earlier, on October 23.
More to come?
A box office hits usually lead to more movies--and as Genisys proved, even a flop can't stop a hugely recognisable franchise for long. Whatever happens, there's little doubt that there will be more Terminator movies in the future, and if Dark Fate is a success, then it could happen sooner rather than later.
In August, Cameron told Deadline that he and the writers already have plans beyond this film. "We spent several weeks breaking story and figuring out what type of story we wanted to tell, so we would have something to pitch Linda," he said. "We rolled up our sleeves and started to break out the story and when we got a handle on something we looked at it as a three-film arc, so there is a greater story to be told. If we get fortunate enough to make some money with Dark Fate, we know exactly where we can go with the subsequent films."