While creator James Cameron's return to the Terminator franchise has been heavily marketed, it turns out he never even visited the Dark Fate set. Many film series have started out with a bang and quickly succumbed to the law of diminishing returns, but few have felt that harder than the Terminator movies. Cameron's 1984 original is basically a sci-fi slasher film, and is commonly considered one of the best films to emerge from the decade. 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the rare follow-up to top the original, at least in the eyes of most.
After two films that great, it's no wonder that neither Hollywood or moviegoers seemed ready to give up on the Terminator franchise. Then came every subsequent film. While 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines has its fans, and sports some terrific action set pieces, few would attempt to argue it's in the same league as its predecessors. The casting of Christian Bale as John Connor in Terminator: Salvation - a movie depicting the future war between man and machine only briefly glimpsed in the previous entries - seemed like an awesome idea, that is until almost no one liked the finished product, which came complete with a rare bad performance from Oscar-winner Bale.
Salvation was intended to launch a new trilogy, but after it came up short at the box office and earned widespread scorn, those plans were abandoned. 2015's oddly spelled Terminator: Genisys was also planned to a launch a new trilogy, but those plans were canned for similar reasons, those being that both critics and most fans didn't care for the film. Now, Paramount is preparing to resurrect Terminator yet again, this time with November's Terminator: Dark Fate. Much has been made marketing-wise of the fact that Cameron returned to produce and contribute to the story of Dark Fate, after no involvement in the films since T2. It turns out though, according to a new report from Deadline, that he never actually stepped foot on the set.
While Cameron did indeed contribute creatively, revealing in the same report that he helped punch up Terminator: Dark Fate's script, he had those rewritten pages sent to the set. To be fair, Cameron not visiting the Dark Fate set doesn't necessarily mean he didn't care, as it's well-known that the iconic filmmaker is hard at work on his massive project of creating four sequels to 2009 megahit Avatar. If anything, it shows how much he did care about Terminator, as he was contributing to Terminator's script during Avatar 2, 3, and 4's production.
Another factor in Cameron's hands-off approach to the production of Terminator: Dark Fate seems to be his respect for director Tim Miller, of Deadpool fame. “My belief is that if you get a director who’s a grown-up and knows what to do, you turn them loose,” Cameron said. “My role as producer was in pre-production, and prep and shepherding the script. But it was Tim’s film when it reached the floor.” For the sake of the Terminator franchise, a property that's become more battered and bruised than Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 at the end of T2, here's hoping Cameron put his trust in the right leader.
- Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019