Questions abound with regards to the upcoming sequel Terminator: Dark Fate, namely “Will this be the first good Terminator sequel since T2?” It’s no secret this franchise has had a hard time finding its footing since James Cameron left the director’s chair, suffering not one but two failed reboots. Paramount hopes the third time’s the charm, but this time around Deadpool director Tim Miller has something the other films didn’t: Linda Hamilton.
Ahead of Terminator 6’s Comic-Con panel next week, Miller teased a bit about the follow-up, including what made him want to make the movie in the first place. Speaking to Variety, he was frank about the fact that he could have chosen a number of other projects, but had a passion for bringing Sarah Connor back:
“After Deadpool there were a lot of projects I could’ve chosen, but I really wanted to see Linda Hamilton come back to personally continue her story as Sarah Connor. Like James Cameron, I always find stories about women are much more interesting than men picking up guns. Jim’s movies are grounded in reality and character and just happen to have time travel and robots. I’m wired the same way. I want to give the audience a story about Sarah and these new characters and make everything else as realistic as possible. I want to sit in the audience and believe that this shit could happen to me. That’s how I’m approaching it.”
Miller says that before he brought in screenwriters to craft Terminator: Dark Fate, he actually assembled a room of novelists—and that’s where Mackenzie Davis’s “machine fighter” character was born:
“Before we brought in screenwriters, we did a room with novelists at my request because they’re world builders and we’re reinventing the franchise. One was Joe Abercrombie [the First Law series], who pointed out that the Terminator films tend to have a trinity of main characters. One of those is the protector, the Kyle Reese character. Joe came out with this idea that a new protector from the future is a machine fighter. It’s a painful life, and they’re scarred and take a lot of drugs to combat the pain of what’s been done to them. They don’t live a long time. It’s a very sacrificial role; they risk death to save others. And from the very first suggestion it was always a woman. We had to look for someone who has the physicality, but I’m very sensitive to actors. I didn’t just want a woman who could physically fit the role but emotionally as well. Mackenzie really wanted to do it; she came after the role. She worked harder than anybody.”
As for those who may feel threatened about two women leading this new chapter of the Terminator franchise, Miller didn’t mince words:
“If you’re at all enlightened, she’ll play like gangbusters. If you’re a closet misogynist, she’ll scare the fuck out of you, because she’s tough and strong but very feminine. We did not trade certain gender traits for others; she’s just very strong, and that frightens some dudes. You can see online the responses to some of the early s–t that’s out there, trolls on the internet. I don’t give a fuck.”
Right on. Cameron is involved in Dark Fate as a producer, and Miller says he comes in and provides “clarity” in key moments and gave input on Miller’s director’s cut of the film, but Cameron is also halfway around the world at the moment—he’s moved to New Zealand to focus on finishing the Avatar sequels.
But Cameron was involved in Terminator 3 in a producorial capacity and even gave the atrocious Terminator: Genisys his seal of approval, so I’d honestly say Miller’s vision is more meaningful here. And I really like the direction he’s taking the franchise—grounded, realistic, but putting women front and center just like Cameron’s iconic first two films.
We’ll likely get a new look at the film next week at Comic-Con, but for now, Miller is definitely saying all the right things to get fans like myself excited for this new take on the franchise.
Terminator: Dark Fate opens in theaters on November 1st of this year.