UPDATED with featurette shown in the room: He’s back…again. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the once-and-future icon of The Terminator franchise, had a reunion with the franchise’s other big star, Linda Hamilton, on the Hall H stage for the Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media panel previewing Terminator: Dark Fate (November 1) at Comic-Con in San Diego. As is tradition here in San Diego, most Hall H attendees spent the night.
Terminator producer James Cameron kicked off the session, beaming in from distant Pandora on the other side of the galaxy (aka, the green-screen factory at his offices at Lightstorm Entertainment in Santa Monica) from the Avatar 2,3 and 4 set. “I can’t tell you what’s behind me, it’s classified” said the Oscar winning helmer in what looked like a sunken pool-like production blue screen set (there were life saver rings attached around the upper rails). It’s long been reported that Avatar 2 takes place underwater.
Cameron told Hall H that to get Linda Hamilton back on board, he sent her an email of why she should and why she shouldn’t do the sequel. “The key point was that people love you in this character (Sarah Connor). They love this character. The fans just want to know what’s she like now. What’s her life been like in the mean time? Is she still fighting the machines?”
After Cameron’s streaming session, a sizzle behind-the-scenes reel played with director Tim Miller and Hamilton talking about bringing Connor back. Here it is:
The new film’s director, Tim Miller (Deadpool) led the panel, which also featured cast members Mackenzie Davis, Diego Bonetta, Gabriel Luna, and Natalia Reyes.
Cameron is back with the R-rated sci-fi series for the first time since 1991, and while he’s not directing, he did write the story treatment and took a hands-on producer role.
The hook for Miller was Sarah Connor’s story. At the end of Terminator 2 she destroys Cyberdine and “we don’t know the consequences of her decisions.”
Hamilton said she didn’t have to come back, but was intrigued “by time” and the passage of it with Sarah’s character. “There was a world of richness that I could explore and then rock it at a certain age.” Hamilton trained for a year prior to filming. “The richness of my life experience will only enrich the character that I will play,” said the actress, who promised fans that her hard work off set props up Sarah’s backstory, which will come through in the performance. “I had to go to places of deepest loss, and that’s what makes Sarah Connor, Sarah Connor.”
“Linda also has a lot of inner rage,” said Miller who had several takes of her smiling after firing off guns.
Miller revealed that Dark Fate will be rated R. “DNA of Terminator is an R-rated movie. It would be disingenuous to do so, it’s what the fans wanted,” said Miller. The last Terminator, Genisys was rated PG-13 as well as the one before, Salvation.
The footage shown here in Hall H was better than what was displayed at CinemaCon during Paramount’s sesh. There was an extended scene of what was shown at CinemaCon where we first get reacquainted with Hamilton. Davis’ character is fighting off Diego Boneta’s Terminator as he throw construction rods at here while she stands in the back of pick-up truck. This new Terminator can reform and multiply. Hamilton shows up and decimates the Terminators with a machine gun, sending over a bridge, and melts another with a bazooka. She then tosses a grenade over the bridge destroying Boneta’s Terminator and tells Davis’ Grace, “I’ll be back.”
The trailer shows that Davis’ Grace is something of a cyborg, and that Arnie’s Terminator is living in a cabin and is good cyborg who calls himself Karl. “After this is all over, I’ll kill you,” Hamilton tells him.