Linda Hamilton is back as Sarah Connor, as tough and suspicious of time-traveling sentient machines as ever, in the first trailer for Terminator: Dark Fatethe sixth installment in a hugely influential franchise.
(Mild spoilers for original Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day below.)
The entire franchise is based on the idea that sentient killing machines from the future can be sent back in time to take out key human figures destined to lead the resistance against the self-aware AI network known as Skynet, and so on. prevent a nuclear holocaust that wipes out the human race. In the original Terminator In the film, the target was a young and innocent Sarah Connor, the mother-to-be of resistance leader John Connor. Then came Terminator 2: Judgment Day, or as I like to call it, the best fucking sequel of all time. A second Terminator is sent to take out a teenage John – with the twist that Schwarzenegger’s original Terminator has been reprogrammed as his protector against a newer model known as the T-1000.
Both films were hugely successful and spawned several more sequels: Revolt of the machines in 2003, 2009 Terminator: Rescueand 2015’s Terminator: Genisys, an attempt to reboot the franchise with a new trilogy. It featured the same original characters played by new actors (Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke was cast as Sarah Connor). But the film wasn’t quite the blockbuster the investigation had hoped for, and plans for a sequel were submitted as Paramount revised its strategy. This latest episode is the result of that adaptation.
Terminator: Dark Fate is touted as a direct sequel to those first two films, ignoring virtually all other Terminator films as existing in alternate timelines. It’s a smart move: an attempt to return to the franchise’s glory days, complete with the return of Schwarzenegger and Hamilton, plus James Cameron on board as producer. According to the official synopsis, “27 years after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a new modified liquid metal Terminator (Gabriel Luna) is sent from the future by Skynet to end Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), a hybrid cyborg-human (Mackenzie Davis) and her friends. Sarah Connor comes to their aid, as does the original Terminator, in a fight for the future.”
So what do we learn from this first trailer? We know that Dani has been on the run with her friends for a few years now. Grace, the human/cyborg hybrid, is the assassin sent from the future to protect her from the creepy new hotness T-3000 played by Luna. He makes the formidable T-1000 of judgement Day looks old and broken. This Terminator can even split in half, the better its target(s) can be taken out. (It’s a handy special effect, reminiscent of ferrofluids.) As the killing machine approaches, Sarah Connor, gun in hand, appears to facilitate their (temporary) escape.
Sarah still has an intense distrust of machines, even one like Grace. ‘Never seen anyone like you. Almost human,” she tells her. Grace replies: “I ben human.” Despite all her preconceptions, Sarah still knows where to get the best possible help, and leads her to a secluded house in the woods, where we catch a brief glimpse of Schwarzenegger’s aging Terminator. We can avoid the usual escalating stakes and expect massive property damage as the group struggles to keep Dani alive – again, it’s the only way they can truly “win.”
Terminator: Dark Fate will be in cinemas from November 1, 2019.
View image by YouTube/Paramount Pictures