TERMINATOR – DARK FATE [SDCC 2019]: They’re (So) Back.


TERMINATOR: DARK FATE (Thursday – Hall H) – Let’s get this outta the way real fast. When it comes to Terminator, I’m biased AF. It’s my favorite non-superhero geek movie franchise; it’s my “Mass Effect“. James Cameron‘s initial Terminator films changed the face of cinematic sci-fi as we know it and paved the way for what would better become known as CGI. There’s no doubt.

But once Cameron let go of the reigns, that’s when things got muddled. While I enjoyed T3: Rise of the Machines, found Salvation passable and made a million excuses for a highly disfunctional Terminator: Genisys (told you ’bout “dat” bias), I’m not gonna sit here and fib that Cameron’s return, even solely as producer, isn’t great fucking news. And he’s brought the cybernetic band back together, with the return of Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, announced at the beginning of the panel without much of the usual rah-rah, Edward Furlong.

Yes, John Connor. That John Connor.. is back.

Rev 9 and.. John Connor. We hope.

But above all else, throwing Deadpool‘s Tim Miller to the video village apocalypse is arguably the biggest addition of all. Cameron, in a viral-style video (from the set of Avatars 6, 17 and 8 million) to open the panel — and the actors all present for the Comic-Con festivities (leads Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes among them) — couldn’t help but gush at their director’s authentic genuineness and much appreciated hands-on guidance. Cameron called Tim “the best director for the job.”

Miller joked that if he saw the announcement of a sixth Terminator movie as a fan, he’d “be like ‘fuck me!'” Thankfully he took the finish of the 1991 classic sci-fi thriller very seriously, as there was no doubt in his mind that Sarah Connor’s endgame was the driving motivation and “most interesting story” behind Dark Fate. “At the end of Terminator 2, [Hamilton] casts all of the dice on the table and destroys Cyberdine. You don’t know what the consequences of that decision was.”

Miller also announced that the rating for Terminator: Dark Fate is R-rated, because the fans demanded it. “To not do it R feels disingenuous to the source material.”

But no worries. Lots of laughs were had on set, too, not surprising with how humorous Miller, a self-proclaimed Marvel nerd, was on his second Hall H stage. He even noted and joked that even in his 25th Comic-Con, he had only gotten into Hall H twice — both as a guest director. Even the new Ghost Rider himself, Gabriel Luna, got plenty of workout downtime and funny $20 bets (on how many F-bombs Miller would throw during the panel, among other things) with one of the best to ever do it.

Yeah, dude– the former Governator showing up to greet the Hall H faithful is one for the books, a moment that took this already emo fanboy to another level of serenity. In short, Ah-nuld was hilariously long-winded, ranting forever about how great of an event Comic-Con was, and also had no issues quoting and mocking his own classic quips. It was so fucking great.

Throw an extended look at BTS footage of a Terminator film that actually feels like it has the heart, tone and feel of the original two Terminators, and I just couldn’t hold back the geeky tears. The action looks incredible! The classic quips are back! The first trailer was not an inkling of what’s in store for hobbled longtime fans. In Tim Miller’s hands, it’s apparent my favorite franchise is back. And, as Dark Fate would have it, getting the chance to work (even in a limited capacity as a stand-in) on the final two shoot days of T6 made this fanboy beyond ecstatic to be a part of something so fucking special.

Ah shit. That’s four fucks. Now five. Dammit. Looks like Schwarzenegger is earning himself another twenty bucks. 4.75/5 Crying Moody Cyborgs.

Of course I left the panel before some dude named Tom Cruise arrived to greet San Diego, the same place the majority of another film I had the pleasure of working on (as an Air Force pilot extra, in case you’re keeping score at home) was shot: Top Gun Maverick.

Here’s the trailer!

-Travis Moody