The Terminator franchise is ready for another round of action with Terminator: Dark Fate. The series is no stranger to trying to find a balance between the extreme set pieces the films are known for and being able to be accessible to more audiences. James Cameron talked to Deadline about the new sequel and how the filmmakers managed the question of shooting scenes in both PG-13 and R-rated forms.
Cameron returns to the Terminator franchise as a producer for Terminator: Dark Fate. The filmmaker says the crew made some strides to ensure that this sequel remained true to the first two entries in the series. However, in the beginning, there was some disconnect between the people on the ground in how to handle scenes that might have been considered too intense for younger audiences.
“Even going into the shooting we were like, ‘Okay let’s cover it both ways,'” Cameron explained to Deadline. “So we would have a scene where Sarah is completely unfiltered and with no mediation and then shoot it again where it was tamed down. But eventually we just said ‘To hell with this, it’s a waste of time.’ I think the feeling was that everyone wanted to recapture the tone and the sensibility of the first two films, which I considered flattering.”
That last comment about the first two films feels very apt because Dark Fate takes some of the more recent additions to the lore out of cannon. 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 2009's Terminator: Salvation, and 2017's Terminator Genisys all get the chopping block treatment. Dark Fate serves as a new sequel to Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
Dark Fate's trailer got announced with a teaser hinting at some new details around the film. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a mysterious new character to resume his place in the franchise. Gabriel Luna's is the newest Terminator and he's given a short time to be super menacing. The trailer also features a callback to Linda Hamilton's role as Sarah Conners in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. There is something here for fans of all stripes in the new film.
Cameron worked closely with Dark Fate director Tim Miller to give the franchise a "blank slate" after a couple of obvious missteps. Hopefully, this newest entry will satisfy longtime fans and be more welcoming to newcomers. The studio must be hoping that this will be the film to usher in the modern era of the franchise. Strong creative direction is a good start.
Starring Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator: Dark Fate opens November 1.