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This weekend’s Terminator: Dark Fate is another example in the increasingly common trend of rebootquels, i.e. films that retcon a franchise’s continuity, keeping what works and movies that people love, and discarding those movies that are viewed less favorably. Now, you might think that this would bother Arnold Schwarzenegger because Terminator films he participated in are getting the cold shoulder. But Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t mind that Terminator: Dark Fate ignores his past movies, as he explained:
It makes no difference to me. Absolutely none. I understand that each director goes in a different direction [and] it’s a systemic thing. The way those franchises are being bought, the way they’re available, then they go to go into bankruptcy and then someone else buys. Now, it goes back to Jim Cameron and to Gale Anne Hurd. So that’s what creates sometimes the inconsistencies. If it would always stay with one studio and one ownership, then that wouldn’t happen.
Basically, Arnold doesn’t care that Terminator: Dark Fate is ignoring Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Genisys. Nor does he seem to care that the reason they are being ignored is because those films, along with Terminator Salvation, are viewed as lesser entries in this franchise. You could look at them as stains that are essentially being scrubbed out by this new movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger has this laissez faire attitude because he understands the business.
As the actor told io9, he gets that each director is going to want to do their own thing with their movie creatively, and that can have an impact on what came before it. That’s seemingly a big part of what happened with Dark Fate, the filmmakers wanted to jettison the baggage of some of Arnold’s other Terminator movies to go in the direction they wanted creatively.
He also gets the larger things at play, where a franchise property can change hands and have different owners at different times, as Terminator has. Different owners can have different visions and goals for a property, and that can mean some stuff gets ignored and that there may be inconsistencies if you try to view an entire franchise as a single narrative. A cohesive arc for a long-running franchise like Terminator is often difficult to achieve.
Understanding those business realities is why Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t offended or bothered by Rise of the Machines and Genisys being ignored by Dark Fate. He gets it and knows that without the franchise always staying with one studio and one owner, these things happen. Heck, even if those requirements are met, it doesn’t always work. Just look at Fox’s X-Men; it’s not exactly a model of consistency and continuity.
And ultimately, Arnold Schwarzenegger got paid for those films, and it’s not like they’re erased from history. They still exist and fans can still watch and enjoy them. Although he doesn’t say it, Arnie may also understand that ignoring those other movies is what’s best for the health and long-term prosperity of the franchise. Of course, that ownership issue Arnold mentioned could become a problem for future films after Dark Fate, as there may be a rights battle brewing.
Terminator: Dark Fate opens in theaters November 1. That’s just one of the huge titles you can look forward to as the year comes to a close. Check out the rest in our 2019 Release Schedule.