James Cameron Teases Terminator: Dark Fate Could Launch a Trilogy

James Cameron, who returns to the Terminator franchise as a producer on Terminator: Dark Fate, says the filmmakers approached this newest sequel as the start of a “three-film arc.”

“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 [Hamilton],” Cameron told Deadline of the star’s first franchise entry since 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day. “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 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.”

This new film decanonizes subsequent entries — 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 2009’s Terminator: Salvation and 2017’s Terminator Genisys — making Dark Fate a direct sequel to Cameron’s own Terminator and Judgment Day, both starring Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Cameron acted as a guiding hand on the Tim Miller-directed Dark Fate, agreeing with Skydance boss David Ellison the franchise was in need of a “blank slate” after Genisys proved a commercial and critical failure.

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“I suppose it is an unusual situation from a high-level perspective since I wasn’t involved in three intervening films, but when I talked to David Ellison about it his vision for this was basically to go back to basics and do a continuation from Terminator 2, which is one of his favorite films,” Cameron said. “He’s always believed in the potential of Terminator but he really felt that his own film, Genisys — and he was quite honest with me about this — 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.”

Starring Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator: Dark Fate opens November 1.