Terminator 6's current title is Dark Fate, a suitably ominous tease of what the mysterious sequel's story could be. That information comes from James Cameron himself, who said last month it was the "working title" for Tim Miller's Terminator reboot, and while it's open to change, that the producer's stated it publicly does illuminate what we can expect in November 2019.
Although it's only eight months away, we know precious little about the surprisingly high-budget Terminator: Dark Fate. What has been confirmed is that it will be a retcon sequel, continuing the story of 1991's Terminator 2: Judgement Day but ignoring everything since - meaning 2003's Terminator: Rise of the Machines, 2009's Terminator Salvation and 2015's Terminator Genisys. This means the return of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor (after being killed offscreen in T3) alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger's dependable T-800, joined by Mackenzie Davis as a cyborg soldier and Gabriel Luna as the new villain Terminator.
On the face of it, Dark Fate doesn't tell us much more about Terminator 6 than that. It ostensibly teases an intense movie about fighting destiny, which can be true of every single previous entry. Like renaming Battle Angel Alita to Alita: Battle Angel or the potential retitling of the Avatar sequels, could this all be business?
Perhaps, but in the context of a Judgement Day sequel, it can't be avoided how Terminator 6's working title connects directly to that movie's message of "no fate": the ending saw the Connors prevent the machine uprising, proving Kyle Reese's warning that "the future is not set... there is no such thing as Fate, but what we make for ourselves by our own will." Whether he's right or not - The Terminator suggests a time-loop, its direct sequel something more malleable - is purposely unanswered; the point is not letting ourselves be ruled.
Later Terminator movies skewed this to make fate an unspoken intrinsic element: Rise of the Machines had Judgement Day be an inevitability that John could only ever push back; Salvation presented a future pre-empting time travel; and Genisys rewrote the timeline of the original film. Dark Fate as a title may look to be ascribing to those ideas - indeed, that's why it would work for any of the movies - but the overt connection to Reese's quote (which is repeated by John in T2) instead ties directly to the ideas being discussed in the original movies. Terminator 6 may be once again grappling with the looming threat of Judgement Day and the unchosen obligation of those who must sacrifice themselves to prevent it.
This could also allude to one of the most conspicuously absent elements of Terminator 6: John Connor himself. He's the center of the franchise, the future human resistance leader who motivates Skynet to send Terminators back in time and has been the star of all but the first movie, yet there's nary a hint at his role in Dark Fate. It's thus been speculated that he's dead in this version of the timeline, an event that would certainly justify the title: there is no fate for humanity darker than the loss of their once-future savior.
Given its rather generic quality, there's been some mockery of the Dark Fate title, but given what the sequel is going for, it can work very well. Considering there's not been a good entry in the franchise in almost 30 years, the name should be the least of Terminator 6's problems.
- Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019