Director Tim Miller admits it was a failing for Terminator: Dark Fate not to have any female writers despite centering on a trio of female leads. A direct sequel to the James Cameron-directed The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the relaunch follows Linda Hamilton’s Terminator-hunting Sarah Connor, who helps Mackenzie Davis’ cybernetically-enhanced Grace protect Natalia Reyes’ future resistance leader Dani Ramos from Diego Luna’s Rev-9 Terminator. Dark Fate credits six writers, including story credits for Cameron, David Goyer, Justin Rhodes, Charles H. Eglee, and Josh Friedman, and screenplay credits for Goyer, Rhodes and Billy Ray; with the benefit of hindsight, Miller says the writers’ room should have had a woman “or two.”
“This is one thing I’ve been trying to clear up. Because you look at that, and it does look like there’s a lot of writers. But there weren’t,” Miller said on KCRW’s The Business podcast when asked about Dark Fate’s six credited writers. “We did a writers’ room with all of these writers, they were gonna write the second and third script of a planned trilogy. So they were all in the room breaking story, but they didn’t actually — Josh Friedman didn’t actually write on these scripts. And David Goyer has a writing partner, Justin Rhodes, so Justin and David wrote the first draft, and Billy Ray wrote the second. And then Jim wrote a few scenes. And then, you know.”
When host Kim Masters noted none of the Dark Fate writers were women, Miller replied, “Yes. You’re right. You’re probably right. Although I will say that, at the time we had the scripts, it wasn’t three female leads. It was a blank slate.”
“We hadn’t even, when we picked the writers, even Linda hadn’t decided to come back. So we didn’t know what it was,” Miller added. “I wish that, in hindsight, yeah, we should have had a woman there, or two.”
At San Diego Comic-Con in July, Miller defended his female leads when he said he didn’t “give a f—” about misogynistic backlash aimed at Davis’ Grace after early marketing materials showcased its leading female characters.
“If you’re at all enlightened, she’ll play like gangbusters. If you’re a closet misogynist, she’ll scare the f–k out of you, because she’s tough and strong but very feminine,” Miller told Variety when asked about online “chauvinist hate speech” targeting Dark Fate. “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 f–k.”
Dark Fate was plotted as the first of what was supposed to be a three-movie arc, but a weak box office performance has cast doubt on the future of Terminator. The director also said he’s unlikely to work with Cameron again because Miller lacked what he called “the control to do what [he thinks] is right” on Dark Fate.