With director Tim Miller’s Terminator: Dark Fate opening in theaters November 1st, the other day I got to participate in a Skype interview with producer James Cameron with a few the reporters. Cameron’s currently in New Zealand filming his Avatar sequels.
While Cameron had a lot to say about how they got Linda Hamilton back, the reason Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 ages in Terminator: Dark Fate, and more, the main thing I wanted to know was if everyone involved had already thought about where future sequels will go.
One of the things that frustrated me about the newest Star Wars trilogy is that when J.J. Abrams was directing The Force Awakens, as far as I know, no one involved knew where the story was ultimately going. The Force Awakens ended with this big reveal and then it was on Rian Johnson to figure out why Luke Skywalker was in hiding and to continue the story. Now that J.J. Abrams is back helming the final installment and it remains to be seen if he’s going to retcon Star Wars: The Last Jedi to get to resolutions that he prefers. While it all might work out, I think we can all agree having a game plan from the beginning would be better.
Thankfully, James Cameron has a plan.
During the interview, Cameron revealed future sequels would explore the human relationship with artificial intelligence. While he was careful not to get too in-depth with the second and third films of this possible trilogy, he did say:
“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. 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.
He went on to say one of the important things about planning a trilogy is it prevents you from painting yourself into a corner in the first one.
“We’ve got a lot of thinking about what things look like up in the future to draw upon, and we sort of know where our storyline is going in broad strokes because we actually had other–I don’t know if you noticed, but the story credits for the movie are a little weird because you’ve also got Chic Eglee and Josh Friedman in the story credits because we sat in the room and we broke story across three movies before we focused down onto the first of the proposed three, which is Dark Fate. So there’s really a plot line that runs all the way out through a third film, if we get to that stage. And the reason for that is you spend a couple of weeks to future-proof yourself so you don’t paint yourself into a corner and you could still do the things that you want to do. So yeah, there’s a lot of good thinking that exists already on that.”
This is why James Cameron is James Cameron. He’s always thinking ahead.
While I know some of you are nervous about Terminator: Dark Fate, trust me when I say it’s easily the best Terminator sequel since Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Linda Hamilton’s return is fantastic and reminds everyone that she was just as important to the franchise as Schwarzenegger. Absolutely recommended.
Look for more with James Cameron soon and here’s a whole bunch of people praising Dark Fate.