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There was a dark time in Hollywood decision making, where modern sequels to R-rated films found themselves dipping into PG-13 rated antics. It was sort of move that felt like an older property trying to find a new form of relevance, in a world where Marvel’s Cinematic Universe was crushing box office records like soda cans with that lesser rating.
But as time went on, properties old and new started seizing the opportunity to go back to the R-rated majesty that would make them famous. Terminator: Dark Fate is one of the most recent examples of a movie that’s ready to take that tactic, and leave it to Deadpool’s Tim Miller to flip the bird at PG-13 decision making, by ensuring in the following terms that this latest adventure would be a very adult affair. As he put it as San Diego Comic-Con:
The DNA of Terminator is an R-rated fucking movie, so to not do it R seems disingenuous to the source material.
History helps to back Tim Miller’s claim, as the Terminator films have been known to shed quite a bit of blood, show cyborgs with human tissue coverings have to do some massive surgery with all the gore on display. And of course, the property has also included a ton of profanity from the human contingent.
This confirmation for Terminator: Dark Fate is a pretty big deal, one that’s just as big as having Edward Furlong returning to the role of John Connor for this latest film. Much like Furlong’s return, as well as James Cameron’s return to help mold the story of this new film, the R-rating seems to have a very specific purpose in mind: to win back the Terminator fandom.
As the last two films, Terminator: Salvation and Terminator Genisys, brought James Cameron’s storied franchise into a new era of blockbuster filmmaking, the saga of Sarah Connor, her son John, and the fate of the world, became a PG-13 affair. To say that this ruffled some feathers with the fans, and even Linda Hamilton herself, is to blatantly understate the scenario.
Along with those two films came the added stigma of Terminator die hards just not liking where the films took the series that depended so much on the motto, “No fate, but what we make for ourselves.” Now, with a third film that’s got not only James Cameron’s guidance, but also a soft reboot approach that ignores everything after Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Terminator: Dark Fate has a chance to correct the franchise’s fate towards a better trajectory.
CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg was in the crowd during today’s Terminator: Dark Fate panel at San Diego Comic-Con, and he heard this news first hand. In addition to confirming that the film is a return to R-rated standing for the Terminator saga, it was also heard that part of that rating will be language related.
We say this, because Tim Miller also confirmed that while we’ll be hearing a lot of F-bombs from the legendary Sarah Connor, played once again by series legend Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 will not be swearing at all. The reason, according to Miller, is that while humans can swear, robots cannot.
Ratings don’t exactly equate to success, as Terminator: Dark Fate could be just as disappointing with an R-rating as it would a PG-13. The comfort in a more mature rating comes from the fact that should this film become a huge letdown, it might be less of a product of aiming for a rating that is counter to the gritty reality of the Terminator franchise.