Terminator: Dark Fate’s Insane Opening Action Sequence Was Originally A Lot Longer

Terminator: Dark Fate Grace and Dani on the back of the truck

The action in Terminator: Dark Fate is, quite possibly, some of the most relentless and brutal that we’ve ever seen in the franchise. Part of that is because modern effects have evolved to the point where this is possible, but the other component that makes that possible is the film’s director, Tim Miller. And with his action-packed mind hard at work for his first film since Deadpool, the opening action sequence that kicks Dark Fate off was almost double the length of what you saw in the film.

We learned this during the press day for Terminator: Dark Fate, as CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg got to sit down with Tim Miller and asked him about the development of the film’s first big action sequence. Here's what Miller said:

Well, this may be difficult to believe, but that’s about half as long as I originally pre-viz’d it; because after the car accident there was actually a whole motorcycle chase, and another pickup [truck] thing in an earlier version of it. And then I decided I was going a little too far.

This particular sequence from Terminator: Dark Fate starts with Natalia Reyes’ Dani Ramos being shepherded out of danger, as she and her brother Diego are being pursued by Gabriel Luna’s Rev-9 Terminator. With Mackenzie Davis’s Grace acting as their protector, a huge chase scene sees the three fleeing from the Rev-9 in a stolen pickup truck, with Luna’s antagonist following them in a huge dump truck.

We won’t spoil too much of where the chase goes from that point, but it does end up connecting with the memorable return of Linda Hamilton’s iconic Sarah Connor, which has also been seen in the trailers for Terminator: Dark Fate. However, if you’re interested in a taste of that sequence, check out the clip below:

That segment you saw above is roughly in the middle of that big chase, which is part of why that sequence was shortened. The other main concern that Tim Miller had with what could have been a gargantuan set-piece is that he didn’t want to play too close to the franchise playbook that Terminator: Dark Fate was trying to rewrite.

Sure, nods to classic traditions are always welcome and expected in a film such as this, but as Tim Miller continued to explain in this same interview, it was balance he was prepared to rigorously enforce:

As a fan of the franchise, I feel like I have a good barometer on what’s bad fan service and what’s good fan service. Like what do I want to see as a fan versus, ‘Ok, that’s just, Hasta la Vista, baby. Check it off.’ That we’re all probably better off not having.

Tim Miller is most certainly a true blue Terminator fan, as we’ve seen in his decision-making process towards Terminator: Dark Fate. Keep in mind, this is the same man that not only doesn’t approve of the tear-jerking “thumbs up moment” in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but he’s also wasn’t particularly fond of having to include a callback to the famous line “I’ll Be Back” in his sequel.

And to be honest, that’s exactly the mindset of a fan to such a franchise would have when watching this sort of movie. But again, balance was to be had, and while certain moments were fan service, others were able to do in unexpected directions. It’s the nature of the beast.

It’s something you can see Tim Miller talk about more in our video from this interview, in addition to further commentary on Miller’s credentials from Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes, in the video below:

Hopefully there’s some sort of chance that fans interested in seeing the extended cut of Terminator: Dark Fate’s huge automotive chase scene on the home video release for the film. But even if that’s not possible, it’s cool to know that rather than just throwing everything and the kitchen sink at fans, Tim Miller decided to keep the sink, but ditch some of the dishes.

Terminator: Dark Fate is in theaters this weekend; and if you’re interested in listening to more of Tim Miller discussing the ins and outs of his contribution to the Terminator mythos, check out our interview with the man on our ReelBlend podcast!

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.