Arnold Schwarzenegger Will Play A Different T-800 In Terminator: Dark Fate

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys

Yesterday brought the release of the latest trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate and it featured plenty of new footage from the upcoming sixth installment in the franchise. While much of the interest in the movie has surrounded the long-awaited returns of James Cameron and Linda Hamilton to the series, the new promo also offers a much better look at Arnold Schwarzenegger back in action in his signature role.

The former Governor of California has been playing the iconic T-800 for 35 years, with Terminator Salvation the only entry in the long-running sci-fi series that he hasn’t featured in, although his face was unconvincingly digitally added to another actor during the third act. Dark Fate also marks the first time that Schwarzenegger hasn’t taken top billing in a Terminator movie, with that distinction going to Hamilton this time around, leading to speculation about just how prominently the Austrian Oak will feature in the story.

Director Tim Miller recently gave an interview where he answered some questions on how exactly Schwarzenegger’s T-800 ties into the narrative, and unsurprisingly given the increasingly-convoluted timeline of the franchise, he isn’t playing the same model that turned him into an action superstar.

“I can tell you that Arnold is not that same T-800 that was in the other movies, obviously. He melted down. But for the non-hardcore fans, you should know that he’s not the same guy. But he is the same guy, in many ways, because Terminators all start out in the same place.”

At 72 years of age, Schwarzenegger isn’t exactly either willing or capable to take a hands-on role in Dark Fate’s action sequences, but will still play a key part in how the story plays out, with Miller developing the character’s arc based on the groundwork laid down by James Cameron.

“Imagine the rules that James Cameron set down, about what would happen with a Terminator, what they become, they’re a learning machine, they’re a neural net, they just keep learning. So the longer you leave one around in our society, the more he learns about humanity. And then what does he become?”

It marks quite the departure for the actor to go from playing the T-800 as the unstoppable killing machine from the original Terminator and Judgement Day to the older, more sympathetic version that was seen in Genisys and now Terminator: Dark Fate. The character’s reinvention as ‘Pops’ in the last movie didn’t go down too well with some fans, either, so it remains to be seen how people will react to seeing the imposing screen legend playing a cybernetic organism from the future that answers to the name of Carl.