Terminator: Dark Fate's Gabriel Luna Prepared By Staring Into The Mirror A Lot

Gabriel Luna in Terminator: Dark Fate

“I’ll be back.” It’s the most famous line in the Terminator franchise and has proven prophetic once again, because the franchise is returning this year with Terminator: Dark Fate. The reboot-quel from director Tim Miller brings back Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 and Linda Hamilton’s iconic Sarah Connor. They return alongside a host of new faces, including Gabriel Luna, who plays the new Terminator in the film.

Details about the plot and Gabriel Luna’s Terminator are still relatively scarce, but the actor has spoken about what he’s bringing to the role and the interesting way he prepared. He said:

It's really hard to describe, because for me when I first got the part there was no script. So I spent a lot of time - more time than I should divulge - just standing in front of a mirror, just trying to develop the physical vocabulary of what he is, what's important. The head pitched forward in pursuit; the fluidity and the points of focus and all these things. And that's all I could work on, you know? So am sitting there, like, 'What is a Terminator to me?' and I'm breaking it down and building it up from the ground.

When Gabriel Luna landed the role of the new Terminator in Terminator: Dark Fate, there was no script for him to prepare with, but he didn’t just chill and wait for it. He got to work doing what he could by coming up with a take on how he would approach the character. As he told Comicbook.com, that meant just staring in the mirror for an uncomfortable amount of time to work out what that looked like.

It sounds strange and very ‘actor-y’ to hear about an actor just staring in a mirror for hours on end, doing different things with his face and head to work on his character, but it makes sense, especially in lieu of a script. Although a Terminator is a robot and generally unfeeling, an actor can’t just ‘do the robot’ and be good to go. There may not be emotion in the way there is for a human character but there is an intensity and purpose that must be present in the performance.

So Gabriel Luna had to suss out how he viewed Terminators and how he could physcially convey what he needed to convey. For him, that partially meant tilting his head forward, representing the dogged nature with which these hunter/killers pursue their targets. The ‘fluidity’ bit is also interesting and we know that Gabriel Luna’s Terminator will have the liquid properties and less mechanical movement of either a T-1000 or later model.

I also liked what he said about the points of focus. That’s something you’ve seen in previous performances by other Terminators; they aren’t taking in the scenery, they have tunnel vision-like focus, giving attention only to their target and the obstacles that stand in the way of that target.

No matter how weird his process might seem, it’s cool that Gabriel Luna is bringing such a dedication to this role to get the character right in what is hopefully a return to form for the franchise. He is presumably one of the main villains of this film, and he carries on the tradition of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800, Robert Patrick’s T-1000 and Kristanna Loken’s T-X (although Dark Fate is ignoring Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines).

Terminators are ultimately horror villains; unfeeling killers that are nearly impossible to escape. Gabriel Luna has already shown his abilities in this area as Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. That character was more emotional than a Terminator, but definitely had that stalking intensity down. And with Gabriel Luna’s Terminator possessing the ability to duplicate himself, it will be quite the nightmare for Sarah Connor and Co.

Terminator: Dark Fate arrives in theaters on November 1. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all of this year’s biggest movies, and keep it locked to CinemaBlend for all your movie news.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.