Terminator: Dark Fate producer James Cameron says he wouldn't have returned to the franchise without Arnold Schwarzenegger. Cameron and Schwarzenegger first teamed up back in 1984 on the original Terminator, the film that launched Cameron on his career as an action filmmaker, and also helped Schwarzenegger solidify his standing as a 1980s movie icon.
In 1991, Schwarzenegger and Cameron would re-team for the blockbuster sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and would come together a third time for the 1994 action film True Lies. After that, the Terminator franchise would continue without Cameron’s direct involvement, though Schwarzenegger would come back for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Genisys (he made only a brief appearance in Terminator Salvation via use of CGI). Cameron meanwhile would become one of the world’s biggest directors thanks to his massive hits Titanic and Avatar. Now, with the Terminator franchise getting ready for its latest reboot, Cameron is officially back onboard and so too is Schwarzenegger, with Tim Miller in the director's chair.
Speaking to Flicks and the City (in a since-removed interview, via Cinema Blend), Cameron made it clear that he wouldn't in fact have considered returning to produce Dark Fate had Schwarzenegger not also come back. Cameron explained:
I said 'Look I'd love to be involved in this, but I can't be involved in a Terminator movie without working with my good friend of 35 years, Arnold Schwarzenegger, even if it's to officially pass the baton to a new generation of characters. So that's what we all agreed to do. Then the question became what about Linda [Hamilton], does Linda want to come back?
Of course, Linda Hamilton also agreed to come back and once again play Sarah Connor, the character she last portrayed in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Interestingly, Cameron said in the same interview that had Hamilton not returned, Sarah Connor wouldn't be in the film (Connor was played by Emilia Clarke in Genisys and on TV's Sarah Connor Chronicles by Lena Headey).
The new film picks up the action decades after Judgment Day, while completely ignoring the three other Terminator movies that have come since (which probably doesn't bother Hamilton as she called those films forgettable). In Dark Fate, Schwarzenegger and Hamilton indeed pass the baton to a new generation that includes Natalia Reyes as Dani Ramos, a young woman who much like Connor finds herself being stalked by a Terminator. That new Terminator, played by Gabriel Luna, is a terrifying model called a Rev-9 that can separate into two forms for double the killing power. There's also Mackenzie Davis as a soldier from the future who's a mysterious type of human/cyborg hybrid.
Having the old band back together for Terminator: Dark Fate is certainly good news for old school Terminator fans who don't think the franchise has been nearly as good since Cameron and Hamilton were last involved. Of course, the new characters are there to carry on the legacy after Dark Fate hopefully successfully reboots the franchise - the key word being "successfully," after Salvation and Genisys both failed to get the job done.
- Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019