The Terminator franchise is returning to the big screen with original director James Cameron in a producer role. The upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate has a new star playing the titular Terminator, and the film’s second trailer sheds some new light on his target: Dani, played by Natalia Reyes.
It’s difficult not to be excited about the prospect of a new Terminator movie, especially considering the acclaimed filmmaker (who largely dropped his involvement after Terminator 2: Judgment Day) is back, albeit as an executive producer. Deadpool director Tim Miller will helm the film, and Arnold Schwarzenegger will return as the classic T-800 Terminator, with original franchise star Linda Hamilton reprising her role as Sarah Connor.
With Terminator: Dark Fate scheduled to hit theaters November 1, 2019, here is everything we know about the movie so far.
Back to its rating roots
Terminator: Dark Fate is going back to its roots for more than just its story. The film will also be the first installment of the franchise to have an “R” rating since 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
The film’s rating was confirmed by the Motion Picture Association of America, with the reason for that rating described as follows: “Rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity.”
The first three films in the Terminator franchise were all given the restrictive, adults-only “R” rating, but the most recent two — 2009’s Terminator Salvation and 2015’s Terminator Genisys — were both given the more mainstream PG-13 rating.
Paramount Pictures debuted the first trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate on May 23, and the preview offered audiences plenty of action, explosions, and android assassins that have become hallmarks of the franchise.
Meanwhile, Dark Fate‘s Spanish-language trailer for the film, which hit on October 1, delves a little bit more into the film’s backstory. It seems that Gabriel Luna’s REV-9-model Terminator is hunting a young woman named Dani (Natalia Reyes), who’s so important to the future that Mackenzie Davis’ cybernetic super-soldier, Sarah Conner, and the old T-800 Terminator team up to protect her.
John Connor returns
At Comic-Con International 2019, fans learned that Edward Furlong, who was just 14 when he played humanity’s future savior in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, would join his on-screen mom, Linda Hamilton, in returning to the franchise. Now 41, Furlong was originally expected to play the younger Connor in 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but was dropped from the film due to Furlong’s substance abuse problems. He was replaced by Nick Stahl.
At the Comic-Con panel, Miller also confirmed that, unlike Terminator Salvation, and Terminator Genisys, the latest film would be R-rated (every Terminator film since Terminator 3 has been rated PG-13).
After the first Terminator: Dark Fate trailer introduced the film’s new android assassin — as portrayed by Gabriel Luna — a set of posters that began circulating online in July offered an up-close look at the robot’s endoskeleton.
As the trailer seemed to reveal, the REV-9 (as the android has been officially dubbed) appears to be able to separate its endoskeleton from the rest of its liquid metal body, effectively creating two killers — so fans are likely to see a lot of the android’s skeletal figure in Dark Fate.
Following Paramount’s Terminator: Dark Fate presentation at CinemaCon 2019, the studio released a series of promotional stills that spotlighted the film’s main characters. Arnold Schwarzenegger, sporting a grey beard and some light battle damage, is back and ready to kick some butt, while Linda Hamilton looks as tough and strong as ever. The promo images also give us our first real look at Gabriel Luna as the new Terminator, as well as new series leads Mackenzie Davis (who may or may not be a robot herself), Natalia Reyes, and Diego Boneta.
Just in case you thought the next installment of the Terminator franchise might offer a glimmer of hope for humanity, Cameron offered up the film’s working title in February to extinguish any optimism.
Discussing the film in an interview with Yahoo, Cameron revealed the working title for the film. “We’re calling it, Terminator: Dark Fate,” said the filmmaker. “That’s our working title right now.”
Behind the scenes
In late January, a behind-the-scenes video from the set of Terminator: Dark Fate found its way online, offering a sneak peek at several cast members — including the T-800 himself, Schwarzenegger — on the set of the film in Hungary.
Although much of the video is devoted to praising the decision to film in Hungary, the promotional footage also includes quite a few scenes featuring the trio of leading ladies featured in the film. Original Terminator star Hamilton appears in several scenes, and the makeup she’s sporting suggests that her character won’t be having any easier of a time in this installment of this franchise.
The ladies of Terminator
Paramount Pictures released an official photo from Terminator: Dark Fate on August 1. The image features the film’s three leading ladies: Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis, and franchise veteran Linda Hamilton.
Little is known about the new cast members joining the series at this point. Reyes (La Vendedora de Rosas) will play a character named Dani Ramos, while Davis (Blade Runner 2049) will play a character named Grace, who’s been sent from the future to protect Dani from the REV-9.
Heroes and skeletons
The first photos from the set of the film in Andalusia, Spain, found their way online in May 2018.
Over at TheTerminatorFans.com, a set of images featuring the crew preparing a desert set in the city of Almeria suggest that at least some of the film will be set after humanity gets hit hard by Skynet. The photos show the crew laying out skeletons in the sand, with a crashed helicopter is half-buried nearby.
Meanwhile, a fan posted a selfie with franchise star Hamilton in Madrid during a break in filming that offers a peek at the Terminator veteran. The photo — and the fan’s comments on meeting Hamilton — can also be found at the Terminator fan site.
First look at Linda Hamilton a.k.a. Sarah Connor in Terminator 6
— yoodadude (@yoodadude) June 5, 2018
The franchise has found its new Terminator.
Agents of SHIELD actor Gabriel Luna will portray the next version of the deadly Terminator in the sequel, according to Deadline.
Luna is best known for portraying Robbie Reyes, the supernatural vigilante known as Ghost Rider, in the ABC television series set in Marvel’s cinematic universe. He also appears in the El Rey drama series Matador and starred in the 2016 film Transpecos.
After Schwarzenegger made his debut as the deadly android assassin in 1984’s The Terminator, alternate versions of the Terminator have been portrayed by Robert Patrick, Kristanna Loken, and Lee Byung-hun, among other actors, in various sequels and spinoff films.
In with the new
Franchise veterans will be a huge part of the new trilogy’s appeal, but newcomers will help, too, as Cameron has said in the past.
In April, Deadline reported that actors Natalia Reyes and Diego Boneta had joined the cast of the film in featured roles.
Reyes is best known for starring in the series Lady, La Vendedora de Rosas and the Netflix film Pickpockets, while Boneta stars in the Netflix series The Titan with Sam Worthington. (Coincidentally, Worthington played a featured role as a human-android hybrid in 2009’s Terminator Salvation.)
Mackenzie Davis will also be one of the actors joining the fun in the new Terminator film. The Blade Runner 2049 star was reported earlier to be in talks to play a soldier/assassin, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The exact nature of Davis’ prospective role remains unclear, but like Hamilton before her, she’ll be playing a tough woman forced to face off against cyborgs. THR’s sources suggest the former Halt and Catch Fire star will play an important character, but that another actress may take on an even bigger role in the franchise.
Revising the timeline
Paramount Pictures pushed back the release date for Terminator: Dark Fate in early April 2018, extending the wait an additional four months beyond the project’s initial July 2019 release date into late November. That date was then moved forward in a subsequent change, with the release date now set for November 1.
A revealing interview
On September 27, 2017, as part of its cover story (below), The Hollywood Reporter published an extensive interview with Cameron and Miller, in which the two divulged several juicy nuggets of info regarding the upcoming films.
Cameron is more than happy to “pretend [the three most recent films] were a bad dream … or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multiverse.”
Miller and Cameron believe that the basic concept for the first two films — artificial intelligence becoming self-aware and then murderous — is extremely relevant today, given recent advancements in technology.
When asked about his plans for future casting — Schwarzenegger is 70, while Hamilton is 61 — Cameron admitted that he’ll be following the Star Wars template and seeking out fresh faces.
“A lot of this is handing off the baton to a new generation of characters,” he explained. “We’re starting a search for an 18-something young woman to essentially be the new centerpiece of these stories.”
An aging T-800
According to Cameron and Miller, Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character will show signs of age in the new trilogy: “You don’t have to get around [Arnold’s age]. The beauty of it is: He’s a cyborg. And so, the org part is on the outside, meaning organism … there’s this idea that flesh sort of sheaths over a metal endoskeleton. So that would age normally. So, obviously he’s one that’s been in action and operation for a long time. And that’s all I want to say about the actual story part of it.”
Miller teased that the T-800 character will have grown and evolved under the hood as well, saying “… they’re learning machines.
A star returns
Linda Hamilton, who played Connor in the first two films, signed on for the latest film in the series in September 2017, according to Variety.
After starring in the series’ original 1984 film, The Terminator, and its 1991 sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the actress declined to return to the franchise for the third film. She didn’t like the direction it took and felt the story was “complete” with the first two movies. Although she later did agree to do voice work for the fourth film, she wasn’t thrilled the franchise was continuing.
“I thought it was perfect with two films,” she said at Excel’s MCM Expo in 2009, according to the U.K.’s The Wharf. “It was a complete circle, and it was enough in itself. But there will always be those who will try and milk the cow.”
A big part of the problem for Hamilton seems to have been the fact that Cameron, to whom she was married from 1997 to 1999, stepped away from the franchise for those films. At the same 2009 expo, she credited him with much of the success of the franchise, saying it was “his vision that really made it soar.” Cameron’s return may have been what was needed to convince Hamilton to reprise her role.
Updated on October 16, 2019: Added the film’s official MPAA rating.
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