Ask a person to summarize the Terminator timeline, and you might just drive them insane enough to create a world-destroying AI technology. James Cameron’s first 1984 sci-fi/horror movie and its 1991 sequel, T2: Judgment Day, were straightforward enough action movies with some admittedly loose approaches to time travel. But things went downhill from there — both creatively and canonically — as sequels, spin-offs, and reboots fudged the timeline up even more.
But director Tim Miller promises all that will change with Terminator: Dark Fate. The upcoming Terminator sequel stands apart from the other films, Miller says, because the Terminator Dark Fate plot deals directly with the consequences of Sarah Connor’s (Linda Hamilton) critical action in T2.
We’ve known for a while that Terminator: Dark Fate will ignore the events of the Terminator films that followed T2 (because really, who wants to remember Terminator: Genisys?), but Miller reveals that the upcoming Terminator sequel will deal more directly with the events of T2 than any film has attempted to before. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Miller said that his upcoming sequel will deal with the aftermath of Sarah Connor destroying Cyberdyne Systems, the company whose Skynet would eventually try to destroy humanity in the future. “I honestly believe this would be the best version of the movie after the second one,” Miller said, adding:
“The first two movies really deal with time as a loop, what’s happening is the same thing that happened before and everybody is fighting to ensure that happens again. And Jim [Cameron] had this lucky break that he only broke that rule at the end of Terminator 2 when Sarah destroys Cyberdyne, it’s the first thing that happened that hadn’t happened before, and so it was going to change the future — but no one knew how. And I don’t think the movies that came after it really explored that in a clean way like I believe we are, with true consequences, and it makes perfect sense for Sarah to be the one to face those consequences since they were her choices to begin with.”
The end of T2 saw Connor destroying Cyberdyne and facing the future with hope, though it seems like her efforts ultimately failed considering she is still battling time-traveling killer robots 28 years later. But it’s the way that Dark Fate wrangles with the aftermath of Cyberdyne’s destruction that we see why Connor is back (as well as Hamilton, making her lauded return to the franchise) as a grizzled, bazooka-wielding Sarah Connor.
“There is a real gift in that so much time has passed, and that gives me so much more to explore with the character,” Hamilton told EW, continuing:
“Sarah Connor is the same person but I wanted to see how the difference in events have changed her and shaped her and send her forward. There was meat there. I didn’t want to just recycle the same idea. It’s a woman who has a different mission, a different story, so I wanted to see what we could do with that.”
We’ll certainly see when Terminator: Dark Fate opens in theaters on November 1, 2019.
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