Paramount’s Terminator: Dark Fate will feature a new Terminator ability in which the cyborg “splits,” director Tim Miller has confirmed. The Terminator franchise has been on a long and tumultuous journey since James Cameron’s original 1984 movie. After a sequel, 1991’s Judgement Day, that rewrote the book on action-based sci-fi, a string of disappointing sequels followed, each one raising fans’ hopes of a worthy follow-up and then dashing them upon release amid a flurry of negative fan reaction and disappointing box office.
When even the team of Emilia Clarke and a returning Arnold Schwarzenegger failed to spark life into the Terminator franchise, it was clear that drastic measures needed to be taken and in 2017, it was announced that creative control would be relinquished to creator Cameron, in a movie that would also see Linda Hamilton return to the series as Sarah Connor. Tim Miller (Deadpool) signed on as director and crafted the story alongside Cameron and David S. Goyer and new stars Mackenzie Davis, Gabriel Luna and Natalia Reyes were drafted in. Interestingly, it was also revealed that the new Terminator installment would essentially ignore everything after Judgement Day. All the bad ones, basically.
Discussing Terminator: Dark Fate at the CinemaCon event currently taking place in Las Vegas, Miller confirmed that the movie would feature a new Terminator ability that allows the cyborg to split itself into two and showed attendees early, unfinished footage from the movie. Miller said, “Our cool new feature … is he can split. So he’s twice as deadly.”
The Terminator movies have utilized many gimmicks with their titular cyborgs, such as turning into liquid or inflating one’s breasts to distract law-enforcement, but this is the first instance of a splitting ability in the franchise, continuing the tradition of pushing Skynet’s technological advancement into uncharted territory with each release. Certainly, allowing a Terminator to split into two separate forms should, at the very least, lead to some thrilling multi-person fight scenes and from a narrative point of view, having a character in two places at once could potentially help keep a brisk and intense pace.
Despite a run of three unsuccessful movies, there is still a palpable buzz around the release of Terminator: Dark Fate and fans are intrigued to see how a return to the franchise’s roots can re-energize the story. Despite clearly wanting to anchor itself in the beginnings of the franchise however, fresh developments such as this new splitting power prove that Cameron and Miller are also seeking to push the Terminator franchise forward and explore new ideas.