How James Cameron Worked On Terminator: Dark Fate Without Ever Stepping On Set

Mackenzie Davis as Grace

As far as sci-fi franchises go, there are few quite as beloved as the Terminator movies. James Cameron's original two movies are some of the best the genre can offer, and the franchise has never been far from theaters. Tim Miller's Terminator: Dark Fate is almost upon us, serving as a direct sequel to Terminator 2 and reuniting Cameron with Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Edward Furlong. But it turns out that Cameron wasn't actually around on set. As such, he recently explained exactly how he contributed to the highly anticipated Terminator sequel.

Terminator: Dark Fate has been decades in the making, as the upcoming blockbuster will ignore the other sequels and catch up with Linda Hamilton's iconic version of Sarah Connor. But it turns out that James Cameron wasn't actually on set during film, likely due to conflicts with his other projects like the Avatar sequels. He recently explained how he contributed to Dark Fate, aside from helping convince Hamilton to return to the franchise. As he put it:

Well, I think I saw a rough cut, maybe right after the first of the year. It was pretty rough. It was pretty long. It transformed quite a bit after that. I think David Ellison and I and Tim worked together to try to find the best film that could emerge from that.

James Cameron might not have been on set when Tim Miller and company were getting Terminator: Dark Fate in the can, but he's clearly been privy to the movie's editing process. And that includes seeing the earliest edit of the movie, and giving his notes.

Obviously filming a movie, but there is a huge amount of work that goes into the editing process. That's where the film's tone truly comes to fruition, with editors finding the right combination of shots to move the storytelling forward. So while James Cameron wasn't apart of the movie's filming, his notes during editing no doubt had an impact in the theatrical cut of Terminator: Dark Fate.

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Later in his round table conversation with CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg, the acclaimed filmmaker went on to explain how Terminator: Dark Fate came together as the original cut was edited down and crafted. He said,

It wasn't a slam-dunk at the time. I felt there were a lot of pathways that were taken that were unnecessary. I'm an editor myself, so I gave notes that were both broad, and very specific. I continued in that process up to about two and a half months ago when we locked picture. I would say my... I never went to the set. I've yet to physically meet the new cast because I never went to the set. But I was very involved in the writing and I was very involved in the cutting of the film. And to me, the cutting is really an extension of the writing.

Well, this should be exciting for longtime fans of the Terminator franchise. While Dark Fate director Tim Miller became a household name through his work on R-rated blockbuster Deadpool, James Cameron's involvement in this new sequel really backs up the movie's credibility. That, and the glowing reviews that have hit the internet since Dark Fate began screening.

James Cameron's contribution to Terminator: Dark Fate is an exciting one, and is probably the best way for the movie to be filmed. His distance from the set let Tim Miller take the wheel of the blockbuster, while Cameron's valuable perspective helped craft the cutting of the upcoming sequel. Add on the killer cast and R rating, and there's a recipe for success.

Terminator: Dark Fate will hit theaters on November 1st. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.