How Terminator: Dark Fate Might Be Setting Up The Next John Connor

Terminator: Dark Fate Sarah walking down the highway, shotgun in hand

The practice of time travel can be a bit confusing, especially when you’re trying to maintain the status quo over several divergent sequels. Terminator: Dark Fate seems to have learned that lesson pretty handily, as the film not only deftly ignores any sequels past Terminator 2: Judgement Day, it also seems to set up a new twist right in its first trailer.

Namely, it looks like Terminator: Dark Fate is going to give the world the next John Connor, and we don’t mean a new actor stepping into the role. We’re talking an entirely new savior that’ll lead humanity into victory against the machines. Before we go any further, take a look at the Terminator: Dark Fate trailer below, and get a look at the future of the Terminator franchise.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dig in to see what Terminator: Dark Fate could be trying to tell us about the series’ next steps.

Terminator: Dark Fate Dani Ramos walking through the woods

What The Terminator: Dark Fate Trailer Tells Us

In the trailer to Terminator: Dark Fate, we see two characters trying to protect the new character of Dani Ramos, played by Natalia Reyes. As the trailer begins, we see her palling around with Mackenzie Davis’ Grace, who looks to be either a Terminator that’s doing a really good job of pretending its human, or a human/machine hybrid. But as things progress, a familiar face comes out of the smoke: Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor.

Both of these characters have knowledge of the future, but with Terminator: Dark Fate ignoring everything past Terminator 2: Judgement Day, there’s the problem of Sarah’s vision of the future being different from Grace’s. So we don’t know how this new future is going to pan out, save for the fact that we’re still fighting Skynet. As such, the two have questions for each other, as seen in the trailer. In particular, we see Grace asking why Sarah Connor would be so fixated on protecting Dani.

Which leads to a couple of key lines that stand out, each pointing to a different scenario than that of what we’ve seen in the Terminator saga. And both of those lines center around Dani and her implied role in the future war against Skynet and its legion of robots. The lines are from those very characters sworn to protect her, with each one suggesting a different possibility. We’ll start with the first scenario, in which Dani Ramos could be the new savior of humanity after Terminator: Dark Fate.

Terminator: Dark Fate Dani Ramos standing next to a car, in broad daylight

Dani Ramos Is The New Savior Of Humanity

Part of the Terminator: Dark Fate trailer sees our three leads, Grace, Sarah, and Dani all riding on the roof of a train, with Dani asking the question, “How do we win?” This is more than likely a reference to the future rise of the machines, and the war that will put humanity back on the map.

Mackenzie Davis’ Grace responds to this question very simply, by saying, “We win by keeping you alive.” Automatically, the John Connor scenario feels fresh and new, as Dani Ramos is now the most important human to keep alive. Quite possibly, she’s the new savior of humanity, with the events of Terminator 2: Judgement Day rounding off the importance of the Connor family line in the franchise.

Again, the future that would have happened post-T2 is now obsolete, so there’s a good chance that John Connor might not be as important as he used to be. This hypothesis is only supported by the suggestion that Terminator: Dark Fate will set up Dani as the character to hold down the Terminator franchise, should there be future films past this one. Of course, there’s another possibility that puts Dani at the center of it all; a more traditional scenario that might bring things back to a more familiar set of stakes.

Terminator: Dark Fate Grace holds Dani back on the highway

The New Savior Will Be Dani Ramos’ Child

The other line of dialogue that seems to stick out quite prominently in Terminator: Dark Fate so far comes from when Linda Hamilton’ Sarah Connor is asked by Grace why she cares about Dani Ramos’ fate. Sarah, being the ever conscientious bad ass, replies in one simple, poignant statement: “Because I was her.”

Outside of the whole scenario involving killing machines from the future trying to kill her (and a protector of humanity trying to save her), this could mean that Dani is carrying the child that will win the war on Skynet-- much like Sarah Connor did at the end of The Terminator. Seeing this situation for herself, and remembering how Kyle Reese saved her in 1985, would only endear Sarah to Dani and make her swear to protect the new mother of humanity’s last hope.

Both this scenario, and the one where Dani is the new savior of humanity, could use a little more evidence to boost their cases. But there’s another potential solution, one that might keep John Connor in the picture as well as make Dani Ramos a new person of importance.

Terminator: Dark Fate Dani, Grace, and Sarah walking towards the camera, away from carnage

One Of John Connor’s Lieutenants Could Be Dani Ramos

If Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines should be credited for anything, it’s two things. First is the surprise ending where Judgement Day is actually proven to be inevitable. Additionally, there was the strategy of killing John Connor’s future lieutenants in the human resistance, before taking him out as the ultimate insurance policy. And one of those very plot lines might make its way into Terminator: Dark Fate, as Dani Ramos could be an important part to John’s war strategy.

This scenario works if the Terminator series is still dependent on John Connor being a crucial part of the story. Though considering the places his character has been taken in previous (now non-canonical entries) it wouldn’t be a surprise if the character was dumped; there’s very little that can be done and still be considered new regarding John.

Should John Connor still very much be a part of the Terminator mythos, bringing in the people that would be vital to keeping our future safe is a good idea that hasn’t seen a lot of play in the universe. So it could easily be brought back to the table to keep things fresh, and give Dani an important role to play in an expansion of the classic franchise in Terminator: Dark Fate.

It’s going to be a while before we can confirm any of these theories to be true. But what we can say at the moment is that Terminator: Dark Fate is most definitely looking to take the franchise in a fresh direction, and the wait to see if any of these guesses pan out will hopefully be time well spent. Time will tell, but for now, we’ll keep our eyes and ears open to see what new clues surface on the horizon, as we puzzle out the dark fate that the Terminator franchise seems to be suggesting.

Terminator: Dark Fate creates the new fate of the Terminator franchise on November 1.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.