‘It Was A Mixed Feeling’: Terminator’s Edward Furlong Opens Up About Shooting His Controversial John Connor Cameo In Dark Fate

While John Connor is a character who’s been played by a variety of actors in the Terminator movies and the TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, 2019’s Terminator: Dark Fate was special, as it marked Edward Furlong’s return to the role for the first time since 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day… sort of. Four months after Furlong’s involvement was announced, it turned out that not only had he simply done motion capture to portray John from three years after the events of Judgement Day (alongside body double Jude Collie), the character was killed off at the beginning of the movie too. The actor recalled what it was like for him shooting this controversial cameo, calling it a “mixed feeling.”

Shortly after Dark Fate’s release, Furlong said he was “bummed out” about his role in the movie, but five years later, he’s more neutral about the whole thing. While appearing on Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum, the actor talked about he got the part right as he got sober, and when he learned that John Connor was being killed off, not only did it make him go, “Oh shit,” he was confused about how him portraying his 14-year-old self would be pulled off, thinking it’d be like a “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? sort of situation.” He then said:

I went in there and did that, so I knew what was happening. I mean, it was a mixed feeling. It was understanding I wasn’t in a place to shoot a movie right then anyway… I was kind of happy a little bit too... I don’t know if you met Nick, Nick Stahl’s awesome. I think he’s a great guy, but I was glad to get the character just back to myself even if it was for a day. I thought that was kind of dope.

Edward Furlong’s mention of not being “in a place” to shoot Terminator: Dark Fate in any major capacity refers to his recovery from drug addiction, so it makes sense why he felt that way at the time, and he's also been cool with Nick Stahl's appearance as the character in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. At the same time though, he was glad to be able to help bring John Connor to life again, even though he wasn’t on set that long. So the return to this character may not have been everything he’d hoped it would be, but at least the experience as a whole wasn’t disappointing to him.

What was disappointing for many Terminator fans was John Connor’s fate in Dark Fate, which served as a direct sequel to the first two Terminator movies. In this timeline, John and his mother Sarah, played by Linda Hamilton, retired to Guatemala after their experience with the benevolent T-800 and the shapeshifting T-1000. Unfortunately, Skynet sent other T-800s back in time before it was erased from the future, and one of them fatally shot the teen. This resulted in a heartbroken Sarah dedicating her life to killing other Terminators arriving from the future, while the one that killed John went on to become self-aware, develop a conscience and build a life for himself as Carl.

CinemaBlend’s Terminator: Dark Fate review gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars, and it was certainly more received by critics and general audiences than the previous three movies. Nevertheless, John Connor’s death was criticized by many, but direct Tim Miller explained that this needed to happen in order for Natalia Reyes’ Dani Ramos to rise up as the new main protagonist, with the filmmaker describing her as an “everywoman” rather than “the chosen one.” Hamilton also defended John’s death, saying it was a “great leaping-off point” for her character.

It remains to be seen if another Terminator movie will be made, though in late 2022, franchise creator James Cameron expressed interest in rebooting again. What fans can look forward to is a Terminator anime series being made for Netflix, so keep checking back with us for updates on its progress and other news concerning the franchise.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.