With Terminator: Dark Fate, longtime Terminator fans will have a true sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This time around, they’ll be greeted by familiar faces Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong. If everything goes right, Dark Fate might be the start of a trilogy.
Three In A Row?
In a Deadline interview, producer James Cameron discussed behind-the-scenes tidbits about Dark Fate. One key element in this movie is Hamilton’s return as Sarah Connor. Since Judgment Day, the Maryland native has been busy with roles in Dante’s Peak, Chuck, and Curvature. While she’s in Terminator Salvation, it’s only via voiceover work. With Dark Fate, Cameron is expecting to start a new trilogy. He had to come up with the perfect plot to get Hamilton on board.
“We spent several weeks breaking story and figuring out what type of story we wanted to tell so we would have something to pitch Linda. 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. If we get fortunate enough to make some money with Dark Fate we know exactly where we can go with the subsequent films,” Cameron told Deadline.
Studying The Old Films
As previously mentioned, Dark Fate ignores the other Terminator films following Judgment Day. This didn’t mean those films weren’t influential on the new flick. “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,” Cameron told Deadline.
Both Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genisys incorporated time travel in their storylines. For Dark Fate, Cameron wanted it to be in one time frame. “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,” he told the publication.
Almost Two Versions?
With the rating, Cameron didn’t know where it would land. The aforementioned Salvation and Genisys both earned a PG-13 rating when they were released. The original Terminator films dominated the box office as R rated classics. The producer almost tried making PG-13 and R rated versions of Dark Fate. “Even going into the shooting we were like, ‘OK let’s cover it both ways.’ So we would have a scene where Sarah is completely unfiltered and with no mediation and then shoot it again where it was tamed down,” Cameron told Deadline.
Eventually, Cameron dropped the PG-13 shoots and kept things gritty. “Eventually we just said, ‘To hell with this, it’s a waste of time.’ I think the feeling was that everyone wanted to recapture the tone and the sensibility of the first two films, which I considered flattering,” the producer told the publication.
Because of his work on the Avatar sequels, Cameron couldn’t show up on set. This didn’t stop him from making changes when filming started. “The script wasn’t where it needed to be, so I quietly worked on it in the background and shipping out pages. Sometimes I was shipping out pages the day before they shot a scene. I’m not sure that was 100% always helpful, but overall, I kept the characters on track and sounding right and being where they needed to be,” he told Deadline.
Fans will see the finished product when Dark Fate arrives on November 1.
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