The Terminator first said "I'll be back" in 1984. He was right, several times over, but I can't say I expected him to still be back 35 years later. Turns out, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and franchise co-creator James Cameron are all returning for Terminator 6, also known as Terminator: Dark Fate, a direct sequel to their Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Before getting into the weeds, let's check out the first trailer, which was released mid-May 2019, right after the amazing official poster:
And now here's everything we know so far to get you up-to-speed on the 2019 film Terminator: Dark Fate...
What Is The Terminator 6 Release Date?
Terminator 6 is being directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool) and it's currently scheduled to open in theaters on November 1, 2019. That's a slight change from its previous Nov. 22, 2019 release date. The Wonder Woman sequel was going to open on Nov. 1, but moved to June 2020. At this point, Terminator: Dark Fate is poised to compete against the Charlie's Angels reboot on the first day of November. The following week in November currently holds releases for Sonic the Hedgehog and Midway. Studios love to shift titles around, but that's the lineup for now. (Update: All of those other movies have since moved, while Terminator: Dark Fate is still at Nov. 1. Guess Sarah scared them away?)
What Is The Terminator 6 Rating?
As the sun now stands, Terminator 6 doesn't have an official rating from the MPAA. However, James Cameron confirmed to Flicks and the City that Terminator: Dark Fate will be Rated R:
I think, tonally, what makes this a direct sequel to T1 and T2 is as much about the tone as it is about the narrative: It’s R rated, it’s grim, it’s gritty, it’s fast, it’s intense, it’s very linear. The whole story takes place in 36 hours. It’s not this kind of grandiose, complex story. It’s just very focused on the characters, it’s very now, it’s very present and it’s just a fast white-knuckle ride.
That makes sense, since it's an extension of the first two movies in the franchise, and they were both Rated R. Two of the next three films in the franchise were rated PG-13, but this film is pretending those movies don't exist. Plus, director Tim Miller came to this fresh from Deadpool, which was also Rated R. He has a streak going.
What Is The Full Title Of Terminator 6?
Terminator 6 is titled Terminator: Dark Fate. 'Cause remember, kids, there's no fate but what we make for ourselves. It sounds like the working title used during filming for a while was Terminator 6: Phoenix. The Terminator Fans uncovered some posts from one of the supporting cast members, and the actor referred to the film as Terminator 6: Phoenix. There was thought, at one point, that that might be the official title. James Cameron finally said, mid-February 2019, that they were calling the film Terminator: Dark Fate. Does that suggest an unhappy ending for this film, or perhaps an alternate dark future after T2? Is that why John Connor doesn't seem to be a main character -- because his fate took a dark turn and now we need a new hero for the future?
What Is The Plot Of Terminator 6?
Paramount has yet to release an official synopsis for Terminator 6. However, James Cameron -- who directed the first two films and produced this one -- told THR the 2019 Terminator film is meant to continue the story from Terminator 1 and Terminator 2:
And we're pretending the other films were a bad dream. Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse. This was really driven more by [director Tim Miller] than anybody, surprisingly, because I came in pretty agnostic about where we took it. The only thing I insisted on was that we somehow revamp it and reinvent it for the 21st century.
Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 are returning from the first two films. In February 2019, Cameron revealed that Terminator: Dark Fate will deal with how time and dealing with "these tragic futures" has changed Sarah and show her passing the torch of knowledge for all this imminent doom to new characters. Hamilton and Schwarzenegger will be joined by new stars, including Natalia Reyes as Dani and Mackenzie Davis as Grace. Grace is a super-soldier sent back to protect Dani, who is apparently very important to the future in the way Sarah Connor was in the first two Terminator movies. Both new actresses appeared with Linda Hamilton in the first official cast photo (see above), confirming the lead characters. Gabriel Luna was also cast as a new Terminator.
Sarah Connor - Linda Hamilton
Sarah Connor is back! We met her in The Terminator as the future mother of John Connor (played by Eddie Furlong in T2), eventual leader of the Resistance in the war against Skynet. But she's so much more than that. Sarah began as something of a typical damsel in distress in the 1984 film, but when she returned in 1991's classic T2, soft Sarah transformed into a muscled machine of her own. She became an action hero icon. As an adolescent when T2 came out, Sarah Connor was my hero.
Linda Hamilton was married to her Terminator director, James Cameron, and they share a daughter. He's the one who approached her about returning to this role, as he told THR:
So I called her up, and I said: 'Look, we could rest on our laurels. It's ours to lose, in a sense. We created this thing several decades ago. But, here's what can be really cool. You can come back and show everybody how it's done.' Because in my mind, it hasn't been done a whole lot since the way she did it back in '91. [...] There are certainly plenty of 50-, 60-, 70-something guys out there that just keep cranking along doing action movies and killing bad guys left and right. But there isn't an example of that for women, and I think there should be.
Director Tim Miller added his excitement to see the now 62-year-old Linda Hamilton return to Sarah Connor:
As strong a character as she was, as meaningful as she was to gender and to action stars everywhere, I think it's going to make a huge fucking statement to have her be the really seasoned warrior that she's become.
Linda Hamilton's return as Sarah Connor is already being compared to Jamie Lee Curtis returning for the 2018 Halloween. That Halloween return resulted in a major win at the box office, and we'll have to see if that's the case again for Terminator: Dark Fate.
T-800 - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger, now 71, is returning to his T-800 role for this film. He shared a reunion photo with Linda Hamilton during filming, showing that his character definitely gets banged up. Last year, James Cameron talked to The Arnold Fans about the T-800, and teased some potentially interesting directions. The site had asked if Cameron had ever considered having Schwarzenegger play a human character serving as the basis for the T-800. Here's Cameron's response:
Yeah, you got to ask yourself, 'Why did they make these characters look and sound like Arnold?' There has to be a reason. So yeah, it has flashed through my mind that there has to have been a prototype. There has to have been a guy who's DNA was harvested from -- that they grew the organic outer layer that they grew the Terminator from...and that presumably was a real person at some point. [...] I've asked myself these questions but it's never been resolved...so stay tuned! We're talking pretty seriously now about doing some new Terminator films or possibly a trilogy and you'll just have to see what surfaces in those.
It's clear James Cameron was already thinking ahead, not just for Terminator 6, but potentially down the line for more Terminator films after this one.
Dani Ramos - Natalia Reyes
Colombian actress Natalia Reyes will play Dani Ramos, one of the new leading roles. The first photo from Terminator 6 showed Dani next to Sarah Connor and fellow newcomer Grace. Apparently Dani works at "Arius Motors," since that's the logo on her mechanic shirt. TerminatorFans posted a casting notice for this character a while back, with Dani described as an independent woman in her early 20s from Mexico City; she was brought up in a working-class neighborhood, and is more street-smart than book smart. She's a strong believer in family and always manages to find a ray of light even in the darkest circumstances.
There's speculation that Dani may anchor the Terminator franchise from here, if they do end up making more films, with Terminator: Dark Fate giving satisfying (hopefully) closure to Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger in their OG roles. This appears to be Natalia Reyes' first American role, and it's quite a debut!
Grace - Mackenzie Davis
Mackenzie Davis has another new leading role for the Terminator franchise, playing a character named Grace. The first photo from Terminator 6 -- with Sarah Connor, Dani Ramos, and Grace -- showed markings on Grace's body. She's expected to be some kind of soldier/assassin, and it's possible she's from the future, but that's still speculation at this point. Fans will know Mackenzie Davis from AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, and her roles in the films Blade Runner 2049 and The Martian. Black Mirror fans will also remember her from the Emmy-winning episode, "San Junipero."
Mackenzie Davis is one of the more high profile additions to the franchise, and certainly no stranger to sci-fi. She was also reportedly director Tim Miller's "top choice for a while" before her casting was officially announced.
Terminator - Gabriel Luna
Actor Gabriel Luna played Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider on ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and now he'll play the new Terminator. A few months ago, original Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger tweeted a photo in the gym, mentoring and "machine training" Luna. So, we know Luna got ripped for the intense role. We also know his Terminator has liquid metal capabilities and can duplicate himself. That's a handy trick.
Dani's brother - Diego Boneta
Singer-actor Diego Boneta has been cast as Dani Ramos' brother. At this point, that's all we know about him, but we already know that Dani is very family oriented, so we should expect her brother to be a key part of the story. Boneta starred in the film Rock of Ages, but is arguably best known for his many TV roles on shows like Scream Queens, 90210, Pretty Little Liars, and Jane The Virgin. He also has the lead role in the TV series Luis Miguel, and several more roles in his native Mexico.
Will John Connor Return In Terminator 6?
There will surely be plenty of supporting characters, but will we see John Connor again? It doesn't sound like Edward Furlong is returning, but a photo was posted that suggests young John Connor may be back in some fashion. The photo, which you can see at Bloody-Disgusting was marked "Edward Furlong's (Jude Collie) and Arnold Schwarzenegger's (Brett Azar) CGI stand-ins in Terminator (2019). Young John Connor and the T-800 are back."
The photo shows both actors flexing together for the camera. Based on this, it sounds like we might get a CGI version of John Connor, as well as some CGI to keep the T-800's body in shape. Bloody Disgusting said Jude Collie is alleged to be playing young John Connor, but since the photo called both Collie and Brett Azar CGI stand-ins, the site speculated that we might see younger Edward Furlong's T2 face used in the film.
Will There Be A Terminator 7?
The Terminator franchise has nothing official on the books other than Terminator 6. But, somehow it always manages to come back. Based on James Cameron's comments, it sounds like this is hoped to be the start of a new trilogy. Then again, we've heard that before. There was hope that Terminator Salvation would be the start of a new trilogy, and hope that Terminator Genisys would start a new trilogy. Obviously, that did not pan out. Here's what James Cameron said in July 2017 about new plans for the future of the franchise:
The question is -- has the franchise run its course or can it be freshened up? Can it still have relevance now where so much of our world is catching up to what was science fiction in the first two films. ... So I am in discussions with David Ellison, who is the current rights holder globally for the Terminator franchise, and the rights in the U.S. market revert to me under U.S. copyright law in a year and a half. So he and I are talking about what we can do. Right now we are leaning toward doing a three-film arc and reinventing it.
We still have a while to wait until we can see everything Terminator 6 has in store for us, so be sure to bookmark this guide to stay up to date with all the new info as it becomes available!