Terminator: Dark Fate – Can Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and James Cameron Save the Fate of the Franchise?
New Trailer Fleshes Out the Return of Sarah Connor
Earlier this week, Paramount Pictures released a second trailer for “Terminator: Dark Fate”, the latest installment to the Terminator franchise that began nearly thirty-five years ago. The sixth movie in the series, “Terminator: Dark Fate” appears to be trying achieve a critical rebound. While the franchise’s last film, “Terminator Genisys” fared well at the box office, it met less than ideal reviews. In fact, Dark Fate is coming on the heels of several critically underwhelming Terminator flicks.
Given that James Cameron’s initial 1984 “The Terminator” and his 1991 sequel “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” are hailed as a couple of the greatest action movies ever created, no Terminator movie has managed fill such big shoes since.
From 2003’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”, to 2009’s “Terminator Salvation”, all the way up to 2015’s Genisys, the Terminator sequels have missed the mark in one way or another.
While it may be unreasonable to expect that Dark Fate will live up to the first two films’ standards, the trailer suggests that the new film has a couple promising tricks up its sleeve that may make the movie rise above other attempts at rehashing the series.
Perhaps the biggest bump that Dark Fate promises its audience is the return of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. Sarah Connor has become somewhat of a pop-cultural icon since her first appearances in “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2”.
She is a hardcore female protagonist, the mother of mankind’s future resistance leader, dead-set on killing cyborgs and saving the fate of humanity. While the character appeared in “Terminator Genisys”, she was recast in that film and played by the young Emilia Clarke. While Clarke held her own in the role, Sarah Connor and Linda Hamilton are inextricable in many fans’ minds. Thus, having the original actress reprise the iconic role is likely to draw greater interest.
Stars reprising old roles to play aged protagonists has been a successful trend in many blockbuster films lately. Given the large number of late sequels and additions to franchises to come out in the past few years, many actors and actresses have been returning to characters that they have not touched in decades.
Flash-forward for Stars of Yesteryear
Harrison Ford came back for “Blade Runner 2049” and “Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens”; Jeff Goldblum appeared in “Independence Day: Resurgence” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”; even Bill Murray made a brief cameo in the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot. Not to mention that Sylvester Stallone will be returning as Rambo this year, and 2020 will see a leather-jacketed Tom Cruise flying again in “Top Gun: Maverick”.
Evidently, Linda Hamilton’s return as Sarah Connor is not something entirely unexpected, but it is still alluring to see the actress back on the big screen playing her most recognizable character.
Hamilton is not the only Terminator veteran to return in Dark Fate, though. The face of the franchise and the original Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger will also be in the movie.
While Dark Fate’s initial trailer only showed a single shot of Schwarzenegger’s face, the second trailer offers a bit more exposure. We see Connor unsuccessfully try to kill Schwarzenegger’s character with a shotgun, and then, in a different scene, we hear him ask her “do you believe in fate, Sarah?” We also see a brief sequence of Schwarzenegger in action, firing machine-gun rounds into what is presumably an antagonist Terminator’s face.
Subsequently, at the trailer’s very end, Connor tells him matter-of-factly, “when we’re done, I am going to kill you.” In response, Schwarzenegger simply shrugs. It is most likely that Schwarzenegger is reprising his role as the T-1000, the Terminator model that has appeared throughout the franchise as both an antagonist and protagonist. However, given the character’s aged appearance and the various timelines in the franchise, we cannot confirm anything.
Nonetheless, it seems pretty certain that Schwarzenegger will be on the heroes’ side in Dark Fate, which happily paves the way for some quality humor.
Cameron’s Back, with Mojo?
That being said, the movie looks like it will maintain an overarchingly darker tone, one reminiscent of the first couple films in the franchise. Unlike Salvation and Genisys, which watered themselves down to PG-13 ratings, Dark Fate has promised an R rating, and the trailer’s sinister tone suggest that it will return to the uncompromising action-packed energy of James Cameron’s original installments. After all, the trailer boldly states “Producer James Cameron Returns.”
While Cameron will not be directing Dark Fate—that responsibility has been handed off to Tim Miller—his involvement in the project is a promising advantage over the previous sequels. Not only is he one of the producers, but he is also credited as a writer, implying that the film will be following his vision more so than other additions to his franchise.
Another text-card in the trailer perhaps confirms this, reading, “Witness the new chapter, in the original Terminator saga.” This diction is somewhat curious. Defining Dark Fate as part of the original Terminator saga suggests that other additions to the franchise may not have been part of the same storyline. If this is the case, does that make them outside of the canon?
If so, which parts of the story are real and which aren’t? Because all of the movies play with time travel to different degrees, the saga has the ability to create various narrative timelines, but because of that, lingering questions now remain regarding what has and has not actually occurred in the franchise’s diegesis.
“Terminator: Dark Fate” will come out on November 1st. Only then will we be able to tell if Linda Hamilton, once again fighting alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the visionary world of James Cameron, will be enough to save the franchise’s fate, and whether or not the “original” saga is part of a timeline audiences still want to continue moving across.
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