Tim Miller Explains How Terminator: Dark Fate Time Travel Works

The Terminator franchise deals in time travel, which can get complicated. Any story that employs time travel as a plot device has to establish a set of rules in order for the audience to understand the causality at play. Terminator: Dark Fate director Tim Miller explained to ComicBook.com how time travel works in his film. The new movie uses the rules James Cameron established in the first two Terminator movies as a touchstone. “It’s really what Jim set up,” Miller says. “There is only one timeline and if you change something in the past the time wave rolls forward, like the butterfly effect, it rolls forward and changes the future.

“I also tend to think of it like a river caught in eddies. Jim calls it the ouroboros where you have this cycle of time. Kyle comes back; has sex with Sarah. She gives birth to John. John comes to the future; sends Kyle back, and time is caught in this eddy and only when Sarah destroys Cyberdyne does it continue to flow. We’re caught in another eddy here and whether or not they’re following the script, just trying to make sure the future happens the way it did happen or trying to disrupt the script... I can’t tell you”

It turns out most of the rules used in Terminator: Dark Fate carry over from those original Terminator movies. Cameron pointed this out when explaining why Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 has aged in the film. "Look, it's all in the first film," Cameron said. "Sweat, bad breath, everything--he's a cyborg. The 'org' part is 'organic.' There's flesh over the outside. He's organic on the outside. He's got to eat to support the organic part of his body. It might only be 30% of him by weight, but he definitely has human flesh. The science behind that is complete bulls---, but it's a cool idea, right?

"In the first movie, he's actually got sort of gangrene and his wounds are kind of rotting by the end of the film. When the guy pounds on the door and says, 'Hey buddy, you got a dead cat in there?' It's like, he's rotting. His human flesh is dying before it all gets burned off. All biological systems are subject to age unless you were to specifically genetically tinker that out, which obviously they didn't do. So his outer form ages. The flesh will die and fall off eventually, and then he'll just be the endoskeleton walking around. A little harder to blend in at that point."

What do you think of the use of time travel in The Terminator series? Let us know in the comments. Terminator: Dark Fate is now playing in theaters.

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