As far as sci-fi franchises go, there are few quite as iconic as director James Cameron's The Terminator. Cameron's original pair of movies are royalty within the genre, with Terminator 2 considered one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. In addition to collaborating with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the director also worked with actress Linda Hamilton as she played an ever changing Sarah Connor.
Linda Hamilton was noticeably sent from the myriad sequels that followed T2, but she's returning to the Terminator franchise with Tim Miller's upcoming addition Dark Fate. Hamilton previously mentioned that she didn't enjoy the recent Terminator sequels, and now she's further expanded her thoughts, saying:
[Character] is something that I strongly felt was missing with the three since I did Judgment Day. You had so much action and taking everything and making it that much bigger, but there were no characters that you really cared about. And that obviously has to be the real thread that links my three movies together; you’ve got to have characters you care about or it’s all just a wash.
Well, that criticism does appear to be constructive. Linda Hamilton isn't merely lobbing insults at movies like Terminator Genisys or Salvation. Instead, she's commenting on a trend she noticed within the franchise, where character development took a backseat to the action and stunts.
Linda Hamilton's comments to EW make a great deal of sense when you take into account how the first two Terminator movies went down. The movies were firmly focused on the character of Sarah Connor, who suddenly becomes crucial to the fate of the future and the war against machines. The first movie saw her fall in love and become a reluctant fighter. But by the time we saw her in Terminator 2, so much had changed.
T2 featured a Sarah Connor who was traumatized by her experience in the first movie, kept in a mental health facility while her son John was given to a foster family. She was ripped and experienced with weapons, in stark juxtaposition to the meek woman we met in James Cameron's original movie. It should be fascinating to see what comes next for Sarah, as Terminator: Dark World catches up with the femme fatale after years of fighting.
In comparison, the previous Terminator sequels featured a variety of different actors. 2003's Terminator 3 followed Nick Stahl's version of John Connor, with Sarah apparently dying offscreen. But the ill-fated Terminator Salvation gave Christian Bale the role of John, and followed him in a post-judgement day reality. Finally, Genisys went back in time with Emilia Clarke playing a young Sarah Connor. None of these movies were connected, and Linda Hamilton thinks they sacrificed character work for explosions.
Luckily, Linda Hamilton and Tim Miller have a chance to course correct with Terminator: Dark Fate which will ignore all of the sequels without Hamilton, and directly related to the events of Terminator 2.
Terminator: Dark Fate will arrive in theaters on November 1st, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.