Why Linda Hamilton Really Didn’t Want To Watch Terminator: Dark Fate

Linds Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator: Dark Fate

Among the reasons that Terminator: Dark Fate was a big deal for the franchise was because it marked the return of Linda Hamilton, who hadn’t appeared onscreen as Sarah Connor in nearly 30 years. But just because Hamilton decided to return for another Terminator go-around doesn’t mean she was eager to watch the movie herself. It wasn’t because she wasn’t confident in the movie’s quality, but rather an aversion to watching herself perform. As Hamilton explained:

I’ve only seen the film once, because I just find it awful to watch myself. And the only reason I watched it was because I love [director] Tim Miller, and I love my actors, and I just thought I owed it to Tim to see what we had done. Because we would yell that back all the time while we were shooting. He goes, ‘Linda,’—over the bullhorn—‘You’re going to see this movie?’ I’m like, ‘I’m not! You’re not the boss of me! You’re the boss of me right now!’ [Laughs.] It was always a will-she-or-won’t-she thing. I want to support the people I love. They are my dream team, truly. Mackenzie [Davis], Natalia [Reyes], and Tim. It was like Tim and his three muses, you know? And forged by fire, man. We put it all in everyday.

Linda Hamilton certainly isn’t the only actor who doesn’t like watching/listening to themselves on screen. For example, Adam Driver counts himself among the bunch, to the point that he walked out of an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air several months back because a clip of him from Marriage Story was played. So naturally Hamilton’s first instinct was not not watch Terminator: Dark Fate. Performing in a movie is one thing, but sitting down to watch the completed product does not all within the actress’ comfort zone.

However, as Linda Hamilton laid out to The AV Club, it was ultimately more important for her to support for the other people who had worked on Terminator: Dark Fate, particularly director Tim Miller and co-stars Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes. No doubt that bullhorn prodding from Miller during shooting helped push her in the right direction, so Hamilton was willing to sit down and watch Dark Fate once. But if you want her to check out the latest Terminator film a second time, you’re almost certainly out of luck.

The fact that Linda Hamilton even appeared in Terminator: Dark Fate is a major accomplishment, as Tim Miller noted that it was difficult to get her to reprise Sarah Connor. Ultimately it was James Cameron who convinced her to come aboard Dark Fate, though that only happened after he called her three times and she thought about it for six weeks.

Warning: SPOILERS for Terminator: Dark Fate are ahead!

Released a little over four years after Terminator Genisys, Terminator: Dark Fate served as a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day and ignored the events of the immediate three movies that preceded it. In this continuity, Sarah Connor’s son, John Connor, was killed three years after T2 by a T-800, resulting in her dedicating the next decades to hunting down Terminators and succumbing to alcoholism. If Linda Hamilton had her way, the older Sarah also would have been fat to provide “shock value.”

By the end of Terminator: Dark Fate, Sarah Connor was still kicking and was now dedicated to training Natalia Reyes’ Dani to be ready for the rise of Legion and to avert the death of Mackenzie Davis’ Grace. While that would seemingly set up Sarah to continue being an important player in the Terminator franchise, ahead of Dark Fate’s release, Hamilton jokingly said that she was threatening to fake her own death if asked to return because the movie was “the hardest and greatest thing” she’d ever done.

While Terminator: Dark Fate received mixed-to-positive reactions during its time in theaters, it underwhelmed commercially, making only $261 million worldwide. So it doesn’t look like Dark Fate will get a sequel, and Linda Hamilton believes that box office will be the thing that “killed” the Terminator franchise. Since she now has “no desire” to continue with this corner of her career, Dark Fate serves as her Terminator swan song.

Terminator: Dark Fate is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. We here at CinemaBlend will keep you apprised of any major updates concerning the Terminator franchise, and be sure to look through our 2020 release schedule to plan your trips to the theater this year accordingly.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.