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Let me retcon the whole "suck" sentiment, though, by saying that quite honestly I rather enjoyed those sequels—Rise of the Machines, Salvation, and Genisys—for what they were. Granted, they never held a candle to the original and its groundbreaking follow-up, yet they all at least had Ahnuld (in one way or another, right?)!
You begin to wonder just how those films flopped, and for sure you can't imagine that one heroine of the age where action films seemed to reign of the feminine type would think it's because they never featured her in the role she defined from the very beginning—
But, Yes, Let's See What One Linda Hamilton Recently Had to Say About the Terminator Films' Lack of Success
Here's what she said:
[Character] is something that I strongly felt was missing with the three since I did 'Judgment Day'. You had so much action and taking everything and making it that much bigger, but there were no characters that you really cared about. And that obviously has to be the real thread that links my three movies together; you've got to have characters you care about or it's all just a wash.
Makes sense until you realize that those films did have characters you did care about from the get-go, though.
I mean, you first of all had the character of John Connor come back for Rise of the Machines, portrayed by Nick Stahl. Salvation featured a much older John Connor in Christian Bale. And Genisys got the trifecta with Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese and a surprisingly evil John Connor come back for more judgment.
So how was this not about character? Is Hamilton missing the mark here?
The Key We Think Lies With One Tim Miller, Director of the New Film 'Terminator: Dark Fate' Coming Out
Let's start off first by saying Hamilton's right on. No one might understand it at first, but after digging and looking at story lines, it does make some sense.
The follow-ups, Rise of the Machines, Salvation and Genisys did lack some "character," and Miller jokingly references that to some degree:
I know it's hard for people to say, 'Okay, it's Terminator 6,' but it really isn't, and I hope we get that message out. It's really a sequel to those first two stories—and it's not your usual sequel. I think people are going to be surprised in the way that the story continues and it's a little more back to basics of what Jim [Cameron] did; it's not trying to compete with the giant Marvel movies... Well, it is a little bit. [Laughs] Nobody is going to be disappointed by the action but it really is a return to character.
Let's think about that for a moment, and we've seen this in much the same way with the recent Halloween film, practically retconning all previous sequels. It seems that Dark Fate will do exactly the same thing, and here's why:
It's a true progression of the original story.
Sequels Are Funny Like that: Either They Truly "Follow" the Original or... "Branch" Off Into a "New Story"
The ones that "branch off" tend to lack the same luster, compensating with "bigger action" and more grandeur. Sure, they have the same "characters" featured in the stories, but it's not the same due to not calling back to the original themes, or backstories, or progression of a story that initially made the classic a classic.
We're thinking that's what both Miller and Hamilton are referring to: Dark Fate will—for all intents and purposes—directly follow the real timeline of Judgment Day to a tee.
Rise of the Machines sort of did a "jump," a big gap left in the middle, due to the absence of Sarah Connor, but that was minor at best. However, when you think about it, one little ripple in the pond can cause a bunch of problems, and when you leave a gap that would otherwise be very minor, that can turn into a big problem as continuity gets too much left behind.
The same honestly happened with Salvation: We literally jumped way ahead to where John Connor's in the thick of how it all began in the first place with no real connection to the initial backstory. Genisys did something totally and unbelievably different, which rubbed audiences the wrong way, too.
'Dark Fate,' However, Just Might Put You Back on that Long Dark Road to the "Unknown" as 'Judgment Day' Ended...
Instead of planting you right in the beginning of a new story, you're taking another breath at the immediate moment the credits rolled at the end of T2. This doesn't mean Dark Fate will actually start right where T2 left off chronologically, though. But it does mean we'll see our characters—the same characters we thoroughly identified with and related to—thinking the exact same things to some degree.
We're going to see the same Sarah Connor, albeit much older. We're going to see the same John Connor, albeit much older (and, yes, iconic Edward Furlong will also be reprising his role for this!). Of course, we've got Arnold Schwarzenegger coming back. That's a no-brainer.
But it's not just about the same actors—it's about the same scenarios expanding further and not branching into other perhaps "interesting" tangents within the same franchise or universe.
Do We Dig that Decision Moving Forward for 'Dark Fate'?
Yes, indeed! Sure, it does help that Cameron's back for this true follow-up. This was his baby back then. I must say, though, when you have the same energy and ambiance of what made the original so special, we may just be in for a treat and a true-to-form rebirth of the machines.
Terminator: Dark Fate will launch another day of judgment in theaters on November 1, 2019. Yes, that's coming up soon. So mark it on your calendars. Check for more updates at SCARYHORRORSTUFF.COM, too!