In the build-up to the release of Terminator: Dark Fate, we were told that the movie would finally give us the follow-up to Judgement Day that we’d all been waiting for. Audiences had been burned already by three disappointing sequels, but this one was said to be different. Of course, it helped that franchise creator James Cameron’s name was plastered all over the marketing, with his involvement hopefully indicative of the series finally returning to form.
As we all know, that turned out not to be the case. Dark Fate generated decent enough reviews, but tanked at the box office, and with the movie set to lose up to $120m for the studio, it may well be the final nail in the coffin for a franchise that has struggled to remain relevant for decades. Director Tim Miller has spoken previously about attempting to take the well-worn Skynet narrative in a different direction, and in a recent interview, the filmmaker admitted that this caused clashes with Cameron.
“Even though Jim is a producer and David Ellison is a producer and they technically have final cut and ultimate power, my name is still on it as director. Even if I’m going to lose the fight, I still feel this obligation to fight because that is what the director is supposed to do. Fight for the movie.”
It turned out that Cameron’s involvement in shaping the narrative was so extensive that Miller frequently found himself being overruled on key creative decisions, so much so that he was brutally honest when asked if he would be interested in working with the Avatar and Titanic director again at some point in the future.
“I can say no, but it has nothing to do with whatever trauma I have from the experience. It’s more that I just don’t want to be in a situation again where I don’t have the control to do what I think is right.”
Based on Miller’s comments, it sounds as though he was playing second fiddle to James Cameron throughout production, despite being the man behind the camera. Fans had been desperate for Cameron to return to the franchise ever since 1991, and when he finally did, it seems that all we’ve ended up with after Terminator: Dark Fate is a box office bomb and an unhappy director.