Say what you will about James Cameron, but the filmmaker always has one eye trained on the next big thing.
It’s part of the reason why he’s mapped out four – count ’em, four – sequels to Avatar, the CG-powered epic and former ruler of the Hollywood box office… until a little-known Marvel movie called Avengers: Endgame arrived in town.
And while Cameron has spent more than a decade away from the sweeping vistas of Pandora, he’s certainly been keeping busy. Case in point: the soon-to-be-released Terminator: Dark Fate, which is the first installment to feature James Cameron as an executive producer since T2. Ditto for Linda Hamilton, whose Sarah Connor has returned to face Skynet once more.
Turns out that story isn’t necessarily confined to a single film, what with tentative trilogy plans for Dark Fate. We say ‘tentative’ purely because the ill-fated Genisys was also touted as a franchise-starter for Paramount Pictures… and we all know how that one turned out.
But Dark Fate has an ace in the hole: James Cameron. And as the director revealed to Collider, he has very much laid the groundwork for future Terminator sequels beyond Dark Fate.
I feel like one of my major motivations on this film or coming back to the, hopefully franchise, was to explore the human relationship with artificial intelligence. I don’t feel we did that in Dark Fate. I feel that we set the stage or we set the table for that exploration, and that exploration would take place in a second film and a third film. And we know exactly where we’re going to take that idea. What we wanted to get in the first movie was this idea that it’s just going to keep happening. The names will change, but the basic conflict is going to continue to take place until it gets resolved one way or the other.
To his credit, Cameron does acknowledge the fact that those sequel plans largely hinge on the success of Dark Fate (or lack thereof), which he still considers to be a “pretty good one-time story” in its own right.
And so I believe we’ve set that table and if, like I said, if we get the opportunity, we know where to take the story so that it doesn’t become… I think you start simple and then you elaborate, and you can elaborate over a series of films. If they’re made by the same people with the same intentions and the same philosophy, then there can be a kind of a story arc across multiple films. But that said, I think Dark Fate stands alone as a pretty good one-time story.
Tim Miller’s Terminator: Dark Fate makes a beeline for U.S. theaters on November 1st – one week after its premiere in the United Kingdom.