The newly titled Terminator reboot Dark Fate will essentially retcon every Terminator movie not directed by James Cameron (in other words, every Terminator movie that’s no good). So, it’ll be like the last three didn’t even happen.
Deadpool director Tim Miller is helming this one from a script by The Dark Knight co-writer David S. Goyer, with Cameron executive producing, so things are finally looking up for a Terminator sequel that didn’t come out in 1991. There’s a real chance here to fix a franchise that’s had so many chances before. So, here are 8 Things That Terminator: Dark Fate Could Fix About The Franchise.
James Cameron created two Terminator models. The T-800, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, was the villain of the first movie and the hero of the second movie, while the T-1000, played by Robert Patrick, was the villain of the second movie. The T-1000 was totally different from the T-800 with a slender frame instead of a muscular one, as well as much more powerful, with many new abilities that made him the perfect foe.
However, in the years since then, we’ve been introduced to the T-3000, the T-5000, and the Terminatrix (the female Terminator). That wouldn’t be too many new Terminator models if each of them escalated the stakes and brought something new to the table, but they don’t. So, we need to dial it back. If there’s going to be a new Terminator model, make it fresh and exciting.
Skynet is an iconic part of popular culture and sci-fi cinema. The name is not only recognizable, but it is also apt. Skynet is a network that is everywhere, like the sky. James Cameron named it with the same ideas in mind as the people who created the Cloud, except he did it decades earlier. And then Alan Taylor came along with the hot mess that is Terminator: Genisys and renamed it “Genisys.”
That’s a horrible name, with a very awkward spelling. You just don’t rename Skynet. Can it go back to being Skynet in Dark Fate, please? Renaming Skynet is like rebooting Star Wars and renaming the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. Oh, wait, they did do that.
One of the worst story decisions made by Terminator: Genisys is the backstory where Sarah Connor was raised by a Terminator she has nicknamed “Pops.” What were they thinking?! When we first met Sarah Connor, when the first T-800 came after her, she was a helpless waitress who needed to be saved by the male Kyle Reese. Genisys tried to fix that by making her 1984 self a proficient fighter.
On paper, this sounds more feminist, but it actually just makes for a weaker story. Sarah’s journey in the original movie was getting stronger and defeating the Terminator. In the end, Kyle didn’t save her – she saved herself. She was already a strong character. And in the second movie, she was a bona fide action hero who could shoot guns, kick ass, and protect her young son.
At the end of Terminator: Genisys, Kyle Reese travels back in time with Sarah Connor and “Pops” to visit his former self at his childhood home and warn himself about Genisys. The time travel in this franchise is one-way, remember, so to do something like that is, essentially, to stop the story dead.
What would the sequel be after that? Kyle and Sarah get a condo by the lake? He gets a job at the local bowling alley? And just because young Kyle now knows about the imminent robot uprising, that doesn’t mean he can do anything to stop it. He’s a little kid – he’d just be confused. Skynet – which is its real name, make no mistake – needs to be dealt with head-on. That’s a more interesting movie.
John Connor’s life has gotten very muddled over the years. After Edward Furlong characterized him perfectly as the quintessential ‘90s kid who played arcade games and rode a moped and listened to Guns ‘n’ Roses, it went rapidly downhill from there.
Nick Stahl took away the character’s edge and Christian Bale got it all wrong – the producers didn’t even want him to play John, he made them change the script so he could play John. Little is known about John’s role in the new Terminator movie, but he’s being played by child actor Jude Collie, so his whole life can be rewritten.
James Cameron’s first two Terminator movies had moments of humor, like Kyle Reese’s crack about bad breath or when John teaches the T-800 how to smile, and they worked. But the later Terminator movies, especially Terminator 3, had humor that was way too silly.
“Talk to the hand” and the Elton John glasses – they make the audience roll their eyes, not laugh. There was a slapstick sequence where the T-800 was dragged through a bunch of buildings hanging off a crane. The new movie can have humor, as long as it works with the tone of the film and it’s not too silly.
Skynet might be a conscious computer network, but it’s not a person that looks like Helena Bonham Carter and Matt Smith. It’s an unseen monster that runs throughout the world’s computer systems and has used that to take over Earth. It’s way scarier if it remains unseen. If it appears in human form, Arnold Schwarzenegger can just punch it and all of its power is gone.
The Terminators are the physical manifestations of Skynet – they’re the ones doing its bidding. You don’t have to create another character on top of that to personify Skynet. We don’t need to see Skynet and watch it walk and talk to realize it’s real, because we’re not stupid.
The off-screen death of Sarah Connor revealed in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was as unforgivable than the off-screen deaths of Newt and Bishop in Alien 3. This is Sarah Connor, one of the greatest action heroes of all time. She’s fended off deadly cyborgs, she’s broken herself out of a psychiatric hospital – she can’t go out without a bang.
If she dies, it should be in a blaze of glory, not a battle with terminal illness off-screen. Thankfully, the character is alive again and Linda Hamilton is back in badass form, returning to the role like Jamie Lee Curtis with Laurie Strode.