There’s a lot riding on Terminator: Dark Fate. After Terminator Salvation and Terminator: Genisys disappointed audiences, there’s a lot of skepticism about whether or not Terminator can actually continue as a viable franchise. That’s especially true after both of those previous films were intended to kick off new trilogies. But it sounds like zero lessons have been learned by Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions, because they’re hoping for a new Terminator trilogy yet again.
During an interview with Deadline, producer James Cameron revealed that he crafted the story with director Tim Miller and producer David Ellison of Skydance before they took the pitch to Linda Hamilton. He explained:
“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.”
The good news is that Paramount Pictures isn’t being as arrogant as they used to be about the Terminator franchise. Previously, before the franchise restarters hit theaters, they had set release dates for sequels. This time it’s clear that it’s a wait-and-see game where only a strong box office and critical reception will determine whether more movies follow Terminator: Dark Fate.
As for Cameron’s part after getting Linda Hamilton on board, he was still involved, but only when necessary. The script was completed by a writers room of sorts that included Josh Friedman (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, and Billy Ray. Cameron explained his part in shaping the script after that:
“I focused on getting the script punched up. I didn’t feel like we went into the shoot with the script exactly where it should have been. There was a lot of momentum on the project, there was a start date, there was a lot of energy and a lot of ‘go fever,’ but 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.”
Plenty of blockbuster movies go into production without the script being in perfect shape. Hell, it’s become a staple of how the Mission: Impossible franchise operates now. But the fact that Cameron was a hands-on producer with this latest sequel could work in the film’s favor, especially since he went back to the three preceding Terminator sequels that followed Terminator 2: Judgment Day in order to determine what they shouldn’t do with this one. Cameron said:
“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. 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.”
After the most recent trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate arrived, we’re still skeptical about whether this one can actually pick up the pieces of this franchise and make it work again. All we can do is wait and see whether the wait has been worth it when the sequel arrives on November 1, 2019.
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