A Look Back At Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Scott Daly

Terminator: Dark Fate

“Terminator: Dark Fate” is the sixth movie in the Terminator series. The film aimed to bring back familiar characters and introduce new ones, trying to recapture the excitement of the original 1984 movie. It’s a direct sequel to the first two films and bypasses the less popular sequels. The movie brings back beloved characters like Sarah Connor and the T-800, played by Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. They’re on a mission to protect a young girl from a new advanced liquid Terminator. “Dark Fate” tries to please long-time fans while also attracting new viewers with its thrilling action and engaging characters, including new actors like Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes. The film aims to bridge the past and future of the franchise. However, its box office performance was underwhelming and it received mixed reviews, leaving the future of the series uncertain.

Terminator: Dark Fate – A Controversial Chapter in the Franchise

The Premise of Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate serves as a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, disregarding the events of the other sequels. It reintroduces Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger as a T-800 Terminator, alongside new characters played by Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, and Diego Boneta. The film follows a similar formula to its predecessors: a new Terminator model, the Rev-9, is sent back in time to kill Dani Ramos, a young woman destined to lead the human resistance against Legion, the new AI threat replacing Skynet.

Reception and Box Office Performance

Despite the return of familiar faces and a sizable budget, Terminator: Dark Fate underperformed at the box office. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the action sequences and performances but criticism for its predictable plot and lack of originality. The financial failure of Dark Fate put the future of the franchise in doubt.

Key Differences From Previous Installments

Dark Fate diverges from previous Terminator films in several ways:

  • Shift in Focus: The film shifts the focus from John Connor to Dani Ramos as the new savior of humanity.
  • New Terminator Model: The Rev-9 introduces a more advanced and adaptable Terminator model with unique abilities.
  • Female Leads: The film features three strong female leads, challenging the traditional gender roles of the franchise.
  • Retconning the Timeline: By ignoring previous sequels, Dark Fate attempts to streamline the franchise’s convoluted timeline.

The Future of the Terminator Franchise

The underwhelming performance of Dark Fate has cast a shadow over the future of the Terminator franchise. Plans for sequels and spin-offs have been shelved, leaving fans uncertain about the fate of their beloved series. While a reboot or a different approach might be explored in the future, the success of any future Terminator project remains to be seen.

AspectTerminator: Dark Fate
Release DateNovember 1, 2019
DirectorTim Miller
Box Office Gross$261.1 million
Critical ReceptionMixed
Future of the FranchiseUncertain

Key Takeaways

  • Dark Fate is a direct sequel to the first two Terminator films.
  • It stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • New characters and intense action aim to attract both old and new fans.

Production and Development

The production of “Terminator: Dark Fate” saw a notable collaboration between established creators and actors. It included meticulous planning from casting to filming timelines.

Creative Team

Tim Miller directed the film. He is known for his work on “Deadpool.” James Cameron, the creative force behind the original films, served as a producer, alongside David Ellison. The screenplay was written by David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, and Billy Ray. These writers focused on continuing the story from “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” ignoring the sequels that followed.


Linda Hamilton returned to her iconic role as Sarah Connor. Arnold Schwarzenegger reprised his role as the Terminator. The cast also included Mackenzie Davis, who played Grace, a soldier-assassin. Gabriel Luna was cast as the new advanced Terminator. Natalia Reyes and Diego Boneta joined the cast as characters Dani Ramos and her brother. Edward Furlong made a brief return as John Connor, adding continuity to the storyline.

Filming Timeline

Filming began in March 2018. The production took place in diverse locations, including the United States, Mexico City, and Spain. Scenes were shot in Phoenix and various parts of Spain to depict different settings. The movie faced its share of challenges but managed to wrap up smoothly by July 26, 2019. The careful selection of locations helped to enhance the film’s settings and atmosphere.

Release and Reception

Terminator: Dark Fate hit theaters on November 1, 2019. The film’s performance at the box office and ratings, alongside its home media release and lasting impact, are essential to understanding its journey.

Box Office and Ratings

Terminator: Dark Fate, released by Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media, and Lightstorm Entertainment, performed modestly in theaters. It grossed approximately $261 million worldwide. Despite the action-packed plot featuring a new Terminator sent by Skynet, the film struggled with critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 70% rating, indicating mixed reviews. While some appreciated the action sequences, others felt the storyline overlapped too much with its predecessors. The R rating steered it away from younger audiences, impacting its box office potential.

Home Media and Legacy

The home media release of Dark Fate included 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray, and DVD formats, featuring deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes content. This provided fans with an enhanced viewing experience. While it didn’t revolutionize the franchise, it offered a nostalgic return to key characters like Sarah Connor and the original Terminator. Its legacy, while not as celebrated as earlier films, rekindled interest in the Terminator saga for a new generation. The film’s media and streaming availability further solidified its place in the broader Terminator universe.