If the news of a Terminator reboot feels like history repeating itself, then that’s probably because it is. Before its release in 2015, Terminator: Genisys was hailed as a fresh start for the franchise, effectively discarding everything that happened after Terminator 2 and clearing the way for a new trilogy of movies – and possibly a new TV show to boot.
Long before all that, 2008‘s Terminator Salvation was the great new hope for the series – a future-set saga about human resistance fighters versus Skynet. As you’re probably aware, neither Salvation nor Genisys took off as expected.
All of which brings us to the sixth Terminator movie, scheduled for release in late 2019 and intended as another wiping of the slate for the franchise. So what exactly do we know about it so far? We’re glad you asked…
Terminator: Dark Fate plot
27 years after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a new, modified liquid metal Terminator is sent from the future by Skynet in order to terminate Dani Ramos, a hybrid cyborg human, and her friends. Sarah Connor then comes to their aid in a fight for the future.
“I think the best way to think about Terminator: Dark Fate is to think about it as a direct sequel to Terminator 2, the third film in a series, if you will,” original director James Cameron told Flicks In The City. “We’ll be continuing with Sarah’s story, John’s story, and the T-800 returns — a different T-800 with a very different role to play than what we’ve seen before.”
Not only will this be a direct sequel to the first two films in terms of its story, Terminator: Dark Fate is set to feel like one, too.
“I think, tonally, what makes this a direct sequel to T1 and T2 is as much about the tone as it is about the narrative: it’s R rated, it’s grim, it’s gritty, it’s fast, it’s intense, it’s linear. The whole story takes place in 36 hours. It’s not this kind of grandiose, complex story. It’s just veryfocused on the characters, it’s very now, it’s very present and it’s just a fast white-knuckle ride.”
And Sarah will still be trying her best to avert Judgment Day, even in 2019:
“The principle of our movie is that there’s an inevitable conflict between humans and the intelligent machines that they make. And all [Sarah Connor has] done is kick the can down the road from her future back in the 1980s to our future now in 2019. Judgment Day is right around the corner, yet again. It’s an inevitability. So she’s kicked the can, she’s going to have to try to kick it again and again. The war never ends. So Sarah has become a Terminator hunter. She’s not waiting to be hunted by a Terminator, she hunts them. She’s figured out a way to be there when they pop through time and she just blows their s–t away. Pretty much that simple. Hey, it’s gonna be an R-rated movie, so I can swear.”
Recently, some (potentially very spoilery) plot details from alleged test screenings relating to John Connor have appeared online. Do take these with a pinch of salt for now.
Terminator: Dark Fate director
Following the success of Deadpool, director Tim Miller’s heading up the new Terminator movie. Miller certainly knows how to stage an action scene, but the other big comfort to come from this latest Terminator reboot is that James Cameron’s back as an executive producer. Although he didn’t write the script (that was left to a group of writers that includes David S Goyer, Josh Friedman and Billy Ray), he was at least more involved than he was on the last three movies, and is serving as a kind of creative advisor, going by his interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Dark Fate will also give the franchise a 21st-century relevance that Genisys – with its killer apps and so forth – attempted but didn’t exactly pull off. Says Cameron: “I look at what’s happening now with the emergence of artificial general intelligence equal to or greater than humans’, and you’ve got Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking and others saying that this could be really bad for the survival of the human race. What was science fiction in the ’80s is now imminent. It’s coming over the horizon at us. And there’s been a resurgence of fear and concern about nuclear weapons and so on. So all of these apocalyptic elements are out there.”
Terminator: Dark Fate cast
As in Terminator: Genisys, Terminator 6 will see Arnold Schwarzenegger return as an aging T-800; he won’t, thankfully, be playing the soft and cuddly “Pops” character we saw in that movie, though.
According to Cameron himself, all the movies that followed Terminator 2 will be written off as “a bad dream”, or events in an alternate timeline.
The big news this time around was that Linda Hamilton was returning to her role as Sarah Connor. Early images showed Hamilton in the same battle-hardened mode we all remember from T2: aviator shades, flack jacket, combat trousers and perma-scowl and the first official image from the film shows her looking mean and moody alongside the film’s other main stars, Natalia Reyes and Mackenzie Davis.
New footage shows Sarah Connor delivering the line. You know the one.
Sarah Connor’s son and saviour of humanity John Connor will also be making a return appearance. For a while, we’d heard rumours that Edward Furlong would return to the role as an adult John; it now appears that they were wide of the mark, since it’s more recently emerged that a British child actor named Jude Collie will play the part. Interestingly, set photos show Collie with a remarkably similar haircut to the one Furlong wore in T2 – more on this a bit later.
There’s also a strong possibility that we’ll see younger versions of Schwarznegger’s T-800 in the new movie, just as we did in Salvation and Genisys. Once again, this will likely be achieved with the use of a body double and high-tech, digital face-replacement; we know this because body builder Brett Azar (whose hulking torso was last seen in Genisys) has again been cast as a stand-in for Arnold.
While the Connors and the T-800 will be returning, Dark Fate doesn’t sound as though it’s a straight continuation of their story. As is often the case with your typical reboot, the next Terminator will be about “handing off the baton to a new generation of characters”, according to James Cameron.
Terminator: Dark Fate new characters
When Dark Fate was announced, one of the stories that emerged was that its producers were looking for a new heroine to lead the film. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something young woman to essentially be the new centrepiece of these stories,” Cameron told THR.
That search seemed to take a long time (to the point where the start of filming was actually delayed), but we now know that the new lead is played by Colombian actress Natalia Reyes. Her character is named Dani Ramos.
The character profile describes Dani thus:
“Dani Ramos is a young woman in her early 20s from Mexico City. She was brought up in a working-class neighbourhood, is independent and believes strongly in family. She’s more street smart than book smart and is a woman who always manages to find a ray of light even in the darkest of circumstances.”
Cast alongside her was Mackenzie Davis (Halt And Catch Fire, Blade Runner 2049), who will play a battle-scarred resistance fighter.
And thanks to Variety, we also know who Dani Ramos will be running from: a new Terminator assassin played by Gabriel Luna.
In a final bit of noteworthy casting news, we’ve also learned that Diego Boneta will play Dani’s brother. Given the high body count in these movies, we don’t fancy his character’s chances of surviving to the end credits.
Terminator: Dark Fate behind the scenes
A new behind the scenes video has been released that puts the Budapest production in the spotlight. Arnie, director Tim Miller and co all chat about filming the sixth movie in the franchise and seem in very good spirits!
Terminator: Dark Fate release date
Terminator: Dark Fate is due out in UK cinemas on 25th October 2019.