Terminator: Dark Fate recently made its way into theaters to mixed reception and a less than stellar box office opening. Some of the CGI was lacking and much of the plot felt like Deja Vu, but it was a treat to see Linda Hamilton on-screen as Sarah Connor and the opening action scenes were spectacular.
While the creators have expressed interest in a sequel, it is still up in the air whether or not one will happen. If this new plot and ensemble does continue, we have several ideas for things we want to see, and several things we want them to avoid at all costs.
10 Don't Want: PG-13 Rating
Terminator: Salvation and Genysis both got slapped with a PG-13 rating. The lack of blood took the grit out of the franchise's world. Thankfully, Dark Fate delivered on its promise of gruesome R-rated action. If future installments continue, here's hoping they retain the violence.
Not every Terminator fan is a gorehound, but the rating also signifies increased creative freedom. Besides, when a killer robot from the future smacks somebody, you'd best believe there will be some blood.
9 Want: Smaller Scale
Dark Fate's first set-piece is a brutal hand to hand bout in a car manufacturing plant followed by a bombastic car chase. It is easily the highlight of the film, and the following action scenes only try to go bigger. Unfortunately, they destroy the suspension of disbelief.
Future films should opt for a smaller scale akin to the first two movies. T2 is still a big-budget blockbuster, but the action scenes feel believable by the franchise's logic. It would also help make the scenes look better, because some of the shots' obvious CGI in the new film are hard to watch.
8 Don't Want: Catchphrases
The first two Terminator outings coined countless catchphrases which the sequels use ad nauseam. It worked in T2 as a cute callback and the third movie has a comedic bent which also made them acceptable. After those, however, the repetition of "I'll be back" and "come with me if you want to live" gets exhausting.
The franchise should really ditch these if they want to push forward, instead of banking on nostalgia. A better way to pay tribute would be to simply craft the greatest action movie of the past two decades.
7 Want: John Connor
John Connor's part in Dark Fate is insultingly small and undoes all the victories he and Sarah achieved in Judgment Day. After the opening scene, he is out of the picture. His character in Terminator 3 was a logical next step, as he is a drifter on the run, haunted by his destiny that never came to pass, but this wasn't good enough for Dark Fate, apparently.
Bringing him back may seem impossible, but with time travel anything can happen. An older, scruffy Edward Furlong could make a comeback as a new version of the character, battle-hardened by his command after Judgment Day.
6 Don't Want: Legion
Legion is likely here to stay, but replacing Skynet moves the franchise away from its identity and also is at the root of one of Dark Fate's biggest problems. If they chose to retcon the three films after Terminator 2, why does it retread so much of those films' grounds? Genysis replaced Skynet in the sixth movie already, and Terminator 3 reveals Judgment Day's inevitability, which is exactly the point Dark Fate makes with Legion's creation.
Sure, maybe Terminator: Genysis was lackluster, but it's always better to push forward in a canon rather than reset it. The Resident Evil games are a great example of a series getting back on track without rebooting the timeline.
5 Want: Less CGI
Terminator 2 is hailed to this day for its visual effects. Part of why they work so well is the sparse use. Digital effects really only come into play when the T-1000 engages in his shapeshifting. Dark Fate, on the other hand, has an overabundance of CGI, and most of it is poor.
Granted, it is probably impossible to film actors hanging outside a crashing plane, but it shouldn't be done if it cannot appear convincing. Perfect visuals often come with the right mixture of practical effects and CGI, like Jurassic Park.
4 Don't Want: So Many Writers
Dark Fate has three screenwriting credits and five names under the story. That's a whole lot of talent behind the script of a two hour movie. It cannot be stated for certain, but this could be a contributing factor to some of weaker aspects of the story. With so many people bouncing ideas around, it can be hard to give a script focus and make everything work together.
Terminator and its sequel both have two names under the screenplay, with the former having a third contributor for dialogue. James Cameron also wrote and directed those two, meaning more cohesion between the words on the page and the action on screen. If a sequel happens, it should take this cue from the originals.
3 Want: New Framing Device
The recent release has the same framing device as the first two outings. While this idea was original in 1984 and the 1991 film added to the concept, it feels tired in 2019. A future film should find a new way to tell the story rather than sending a robot back in time to change the future.
The question remains whether audiences would accept this, however. Not everybody was crazy about Terminator: Salvation, after all.
2 Don't Want: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Some would say Arnold is integral to the franchise, but just as many could say he is holding it back from trying something new. Maybe the franchise can be bigger than his stardom. His comedic relief in Dark Fate is welcome, but he feels shoehorned in.
Future installments could tell a good story without bringing the T-800 into the picture. Of course, if there is a sensible place for him in the next film, audiences would happily welcome him with open arms.
1 Want: More Linda Hamilton
Linda Hamilton got into tip-top shape for her glorious return as Sarah Connor. It is incredibly hard to get back into form at an older age when one hasn't been steadily keeping up with their fitness, but she put in the work and fully delivered.
Hopefully it is not a one and done situation for Linda, and she steps back into Sarah's shoes once again in the near future. At the very least, she better get more roles in other high profile Hollywood films soon.