We love the Terminator movies. That's a given. James Cameron's gritty, low budget original blew people's minds and then he went and took everything to the next level with his mega-budget action-focused sequel that set the gold standard for studio blockbuster releases.
The problem is every sequel after that has been... not great. You'll find fans of each one (after all every movie is someone's favorite), but it's impossible to deny that without Cameron's leadership the series hasn't had the same spark as those original two films.
Terminator: Genisys was the latest cringe-worthy addition to the franchise and that one fizzled. However, the next Terminator, Terminator: Dark Fate, stands a shot at possibly breaking the downward spiral of this iconic franchise. Cameron is back in a creative leadership position and Deadpool's Tim Miller is directing.
"I think two things should bring peace of mind to any Terminator fan because it's what brought me peace of mind: that Jim was coming back and that Linda Hamilton is coming back," Miller told SYFY WIRE at SXSW (during a longer chat about his new Netflix series, Love, Death & Robots). "I love Arnold, he's terrific, but to me, it was always Linda's story, so her coming back is f***ing huge. And I can tell you this: she's f***ing amazing in the movie. I could not be happier."
Miller says that as both a filmmaker and a fan, having grown up with the first few movies in the transformational sci-fi saga. He's respectful of the canon and history, and with Cameron on board, he's able to stay within the bounds of previous stories. Even with time-travel such a fundamental part of the series' core, it's not being used in any gratuitous way for storytelling purposes.
"Not as many as you think," Miller said, responding to a question about how often time travel would be to retcon the more poorly retrieved later chapters in the franchise. "I think Jim laid out the rules fairly clearly about how that works."
In the end, that's a positive thing — a fan first, Miller was focused on creating something that would please himself and those like him.
"I'm sure that if I was a fan at home and not directing the sixth installment in the Terminator franchise, I would have been going, Oh my God, f***ing Terminator 6? Let it die, for f***'s sake!'" he laughed. "But I'm directing it and I know the story and I know there's a reason to tell this story and not the least of which is because Sarah Connor never returned to the franchise in the same way and I wanted to see what happens next."