If the Terminator films have taught us anything, it's that these unstoppable killing machines sent back from the future are really hard to get rid of.
Now director Tim Miller's upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate is attempting to clean up the franchise's messy timeline with a sequel that ignores all but the first two films for a new, self-contained story. However, should things go well, Terminator creator James Cameron is teasing that there could be more films to come in the future.
In an interview with Deadline, Cameron, who wrote and directed 1984's Terminator and its 1991 sequel, T2: Judgment Day, discusses his role as producer for his return to the franchises. The filmmaker stresses that it was his job to help generate story ideas and "punch up the script" once those ideas were in place. However, he also reveals that there were more ideas than would fit in the pages of Dark Fate's screenplay.
"We rolled up our sleeves and started to break out the story, and when we got a handle on something we looked at it as a three-film arc, so there is a greater story there to be told," Cameron explains. "If we get fortunate enough to make some money with Dark Fate, we know exactly where we can go with the subsequent films."
While there may be more Terminator films in the future, with Cameron attached in some capacity, the immediate focus was Dark Fate. By ignoring all the subsequent films in the Terminator timeline after T2, the Avatar director also felt it necessary to focus on what made those first two films so compelling, especially compared to later, Cameron-less entries.
"One of the things that seemed obvious from looking at the films that came along later was that we would need to get everything back to the basics and that we would need to avoid the mistakes of making things overly complex and that we needed to avoid stories that jump around in time and one that goes backward and forward in time," says Cameron. "Let’s keep it simple in the relative unity of time. With the story, let’s have the whole thing play out in 36 hours or 48 hours. In the first two movies, everything plays out in less than two days in each one so there’s energy and momentum."
To underscore the film's direct lineage to the first two entries, the Dark Fate Twitter account has been steadily tweeting out new teasers that will feel very familiar to fans of the franchise.
Terminator: Dark Fate will see the return of not only Cameron but also star Linda Hamilton, who spent the first two films portraying Sarah Connor, the literal mother to the future resistance against Skynet. Eddie Furlong, who starred as her son, John Connor, in T2, will also be reprising his role.
You can catch the franchise's alleged return to form when Dark Fate opens in theaters on Nov. 1.