Terminator: Dark Fate…the title feels reminiscent of a novel more than a film. An interlude between main installments rather than a main installment itself. But according to producer James Cameron, who came up with the initial story idea alongside the film’s director Tim Miller, this is meant to be the start of a new trilogy that in fact will headline the franchise from now on. Although it took a lot for Cameron to even come back to begin with.
After essentially serving as a cheerleader for the last three installments (Which he would then later say are all inferior to his original two films), it was clear Cameron wanted to stay on good terms with whoever owned the rights to his precious tale (It’s a fact that Cameron had to sell the rights to The Terminator to get the original funded). It was even using those three installments that he used as unofficial trial-and-error test subjects to find how to best make a new film, quoting in a new interview today the following:
One of the things that seemed obvious from looking at the films that came along later was that we would need to get everything back to the basics and that we would need to avoid the mistakes of making things overly complex and that we needed to avoid stories that jumps around in time and one that goes backward and forward in time. Let’s keep it simple in the relative unity of time. With the story, let’s have the whole thing play out in 36 hours or 48 hours. In the first two movies everything plays out in less than two days in each one so there’s energy and momentum.
In this same interview, Cameron spoke quite plainly how it was David Ellison, the boss over at Skydance Productions, that managed to convince him to take another stab at the story. While Skydance had also produced the widely panned previous film Terminator: Genisys, Ellison himself saw the signs that the franchise needed help and chose to pitch to Cameron to simply ignore Genisys, In fact, Cameron plainly stated, “He [Ellison] was quite honest with me about this – [Genisys] fell short of the mark and didn’t really do what he had wanted it to do. So he said, ‘Let’s start with a blank slate and take it back to Terminator 2.’ And that idea was intriguing.” Where to go from there? The newest poster below clearly indicates who Cameron felt needed to be at the center of the new story:
Sarah Connor, the legendary heroine who went from waitress-in-distress to gun-wielding guerrilla soldier as she became hunted by machines from the future because of her son who hadn’t even been born yet (And, in a time paradox, couldn’t have existed without them coming for her). It was her, the human foundation to the original films, that led to Cameron working with Miller to bring about the return of Sarah Connor. To do that, they needed back her original actor, Linda Hamilton, which led to them mapping out a new trilogy that they felt could lure her back into the fold. As Cameron quoted in the new interview:
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. 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 there 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.
Cameron though was not alone as Josh Friedman, David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, and Billy Ray all ended up working on the script. Cameron, a noted perfectionist, kept punching up the script even during production saying, “I didn’t feel like we went into the shoot with the script exactly where it should have been… so I quietly worked on it in the background and shipping out pages”.
The hope is that Dark Fate will be the film that audiences wanted the last three times (Although each film after Cameron’s original two have their fanbases). Following the teaser trailer released in late May (See it here), the new official trailer keeps to mostly what was seen in that first trailer while giving some ideas to what will distinguish the film from the other installments. Check it out below:
The trailer keeps the film appearing both derivative to the other films (Need to make sure everyone knows this is a Terminator film after all), but there also appears to be a something special that the trailer won’t reveal. Hopefully, that reveal will be worth the wait and audiences will get a dark fate worth watching for another decade.
Terminator: Dark Fate co-stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta, and Edward Furlong. It is set to hit theaters November 1st.