James Cameron says after working on ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ he has an idea for at least two more films in the series…
It took some convincing to get James Cameron to return to ‘The Terminator’ franchise that he launched back in 1984 with one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.
While the prolific writer and director returned with the equally incredible ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’, he bowed out of any future sequels that included three more movies — ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’, ‘Terminator: Salvation’ and ‘Terminator: Genisys’ — as well as a short lived television series — ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’.
Cameron was busy at work on his upcoming ‘Avatar’ sequels when he got a call about relaunching the ‘Terminator’ franchise with a new film that would reset the canon back to the conclusion of ‘Terminator 2’ while essentially eliminating anything that happened afterwards.
“I suppose it is an unusual situation from a high-level perspective since I wasn’t involved in three intervening films, but when I talked to David Ellison about it his vision for this was basically to go back to basics and do a continuation from Terminator 2, which is one of his favorite films,” Cameron told Deadline. “He’s always believed in the potential of Terminator but he really felt that his own film, Genysis — and he was quite honest with me about this — fell short of the mark and didn’t really do what he had wanted it to do.
“So he said, ‘Let’s start with a blank slate and take it back to Terminator 2.’ And that idea was intriguing.”
Cameron decided to return as a producer and script advisor with ‘Deadpool’s Tim Miller set to direct the film that would later become ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’. Beyond Cameron’s decision to come back, a big part of relaunching the franchise also involved reuniting the cast that hadn’t been together since ‘Terminator 2’.
While Arnold Schwarzenegger continued to appear in future ‘Terminator’ films, Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor) and Edward Furlong (John Connor) never came back to the franchise with different actors and actresses portraying those roles in subsequent movies. That’s why it was so important to come up with a story that would bring their characters back into the fold while simultaneously making the material good enough to entice Hamilton and Furlong to return.
So Cameron got to work on the script and the story that unfolded was not only good enough to pitch ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ to Hamilton but it was the kind of material that could potentially result in a new trilogy of films.
“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,” Cameron said. “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.”
It all worked out as Hamilton returned alongside Furlong and Schwarzenegger as well as a new cast of characters, who would obviously carry the legacy onto future films as well.
Another aspect of the film that was important to Cameron was keeping ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ authentic to its predecessor, which meant keeping the story simple and the action as hardcore as necessary. That’s why ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ carries an ‘R’ rating with no apologies to the trend of big budget action movies lately that all tone down the language and violence in order to appeal to the widest audience possible with a PG-13 rating instead.
“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 jumps around in time and one that goes backward and forward in time,” Cameron said. “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.
“Science fiction filmmaking has been compromised over the past couple of decades. That compromise is trying to pander to a larger audience and making these big expensive movies and then following the common wisdom that, well, once you’re making one of those movies the reflex is it must be PG-13 and the thinking is if it’s not then you’ll cut out 25%-30% of your potential earning power. And on a big film that’s your margin, that can be the difference between profitability or losing money.”
Cameron ultimately decided to defy the odds and help make ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ the kind of movie that would stand up to ‘The Terminator’ and ‘Terminator 2’, which means the film will have an ‘R’ rating when the movie is release on November 1.
A new trailer and poster were also released for ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ this week as a celebration of the ‘day after judgment day’, which was paying homage to the original mythos in ‘The Terminator’ films when a nuclear war sealed the fate of humanity when it broke out on August 29, 1997. That’s why the new trailer was released on that day as ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ draws nearer to its own release date in November.
Take a look at the new trailer and the poster below for ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’.