Franchise veterans Edward Furlong and Linda Hamilton, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, will return for “Terminator: Dark Fate,” the sixth entry in the long-running series, producer James Cameron revealed at a Comic-Con panel Thursday morning.
The producer, who live-streamed into Hall H from the New Zealand set of the “Avatar” sequels, briefly mentioned the news about Furlong, who played John Connor in 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” before explaining how he convinced Hamilton to return to her iconic role as Sarah Connor almost three decades later.
“There is no Sarah but Linda,” he said before explaining it fell on him to convince the actress to return. “I drew the short straw, so I talked to her first and actually sent her a long email with a lot of reasons why she should do it and a lot of reasons why she shouldn’t so she could make her own decision. ... I think the key point in the pro column was people love [her] in this character. ... Thankfully she agreed and we built this story around that.”
“We didn’t know if she would do it because there’s a lot of reasons not to take that risk,” added director Tim Miller (“Deadpool”). “The chance to tell her story again was the draw for me. We just didn’t know if she would do it.”
For her part, Hamilton admitted she’d initially felt trepidation about returning to the role. “I felt that the first two were very intact and you kind of want to retire a champion or rest on your laurels,” she said.
Ultimately it was the passage of time that convinced her. “Time changes everything. What has happened, who she is now, what has happened to make her who she is now — there were so many possibilities 27 years later that I felt like I could explore and then rock it as a woman of a certain age.”
Newcomers Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Diego Boneta and Gabriel Luna rounded out the panel discussion.
Miller also revealed that the film would have an R rating. “It wasn’t always that way. I had a backup plan but the DNA of ‘Terminator’ is that it’s an R-rated ... movie, so to not do it R feels disingenuous to the source material. Even though it was up in the air, that was always my plan.”
In keeping with the tone of the film, the director and stars dropped the f-bomb onstage at least a dozen times. Luna and Schwarzenegger were in on a bet that the director would drop the f-word five times at minimum onstage, and by the time Schwarzenegger was brought out to join the cast, Luna had to pay up $20.
“Tim just loves talking about it, I like doing it,” said Schwarzenegger as he accepted the cash to huge audience laughter. “I think we should have a little contest and keep score on that mother...,” Miller replied.
When the panel moderator asked Schwarzenegger what he planned to do with the money, he said, “Well, there’s a lot of options available, especially since the economy is going so well under Donald Trump.” Ultimately he resolved to use it to buy protein shakes for himself and Luna.
When asked about his feelings toward returning to the series, Schwarzenegger said it wasn’t even a question. “Of course I need to come back,” he said. “I’m addicted to ‘Terminator.’ ‘Terminator was the movie that really launched my action movie career.”