The Terminator franchise is returning to the big screen with original director James Cameron in a producer role. The upcoming film, tentatively titled Terminator: Dark Fate, has a new star playing the titular Terminator, and now we know how he — as well as the rest of Terminator‘s returning stars — will look once the action gets going.
It’s difficult not to be excited about the prospect of a new Terminator trilogy — as Cameron has teased — 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 first film in the new trilogy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger will return as the classic T-800 Terminator, with original franchise star Linda Hamilton also reprising her role as Sarah Connor.
With the Terminator sequel scheduled to hit theaters November 1, 2019, here is everything we know about the movie so far.
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 the Terminator sequel 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 the still-untitled Terminator sequel on August 1. The image features the film’s three leading ladies: Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis, and franchise veteran Linda Hamilton.
Official first look at the new #Terminator featuring Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton. Directed by Tim Miller (DEADPOOL). Produced by James Cameron and David Ellison. In theatres 11.22.19. pic.twitter.com/mOz3rxfbAN
— Terminator (@Terminator) August 1, 2018
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. Given the markings all over Grace in the photo, it seems reasonable to suspect she has some unique elements at play in her character.
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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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.
It’s unknown at this point what form Luna’s version of the Terminator will take. 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. The characters played by the two actors remain unknown at this point.
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 the next Terminator movie 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.
Have faith, Terminator fans: Skynet is still going active, but it just might take a little longer.
We’re not sure when Skynet will go active, but we do know when cameras began rolling on the Terminator sequel.
Speaking to fansite TheArnoldFans, Schwarzenegger said he expected shooting to begin in summer 2018 and continue on through the fall.
“We are starting to shoot Terminator 6 in June to the middle of October, so I am in that,” the actor told the site. “I am looking forward to coming back as the T-800 model. It’s going to be great with Tim Miller as the director and Jim Cameron is kind of supervising the whole thing.”
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.
‘A bad dream’
When we found out about the reboot, we naturally wondered how it would fit into the existing narrative. After all, a true sequel would have to consider four films’ worth of backstory — Genisys acted as a hard reboot of the series — right? Well, it turns out the trilogy will follow Terminator 2 sequentially, as 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.
A new generation of Terminators?
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
The Terminator franchise is going back to its roots. 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.
Plot details for the upcoming Terminator flick haven’t been revealed yet, but whatever the story is, it must be something special if it lured Hamilton back. 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 to 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.
Hamilton’s co-star Schwarzenegger did appear in the franchise’s most recent film, 2015’s Terminator: Genysis. Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) played Sarah Connor, meaning we’ll need an explanation for the change back to Hamilton in the sequel. We’re not worried, though. Cameron worked on the story with Miller.
The upcoming Terminator film is expected to be the start of a new trilogy, so depending on the fate of Sarah Connor in the upcoming movie, we may or may not be seeing a lot more of her in the coming years.
Updated on April 4, 2019: Added the first batch of promotional images.