The first trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate has dropped – showing off the return of Sarah Connor, the re-ermergence of Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800, an all-new bunch of heroes, and a fearsome new killer cyborg, in a sequel that ignores everything that happened after Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
With the trailer answering some questions and posing several dozen more, we called up director Tim Miller who talked us through the trailer's key beats, and gave some inklings as to what's in store.
The Unknown Future Rolls Towards Us
If there were any doubt that Dark Fate is a direct sequel to T2, we begin the trailer with a rolling freeway, a daylight version of the classic sequel's final shot.
"It starts with the highway again leading into the future," says Miller. "And once again, I think we don't know what the future holds. Whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. That's the promise of that opening shot."
Holding Out For A Heroine
At the start of the trailer we're introduced to Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), one of the film's three heroines, who laments in voiceover the fact that her "nice, simple life" has been turned upon its head by the arrival of warriors from the future.
Remind you of anyone? "Dani is an innocent once again thrust into a central role in the future," reveals Miller. "Why and who she becomes is the mystery that the movie unveils."
Here's our first proper look at the new Terminator, played by Gabriel Luna, which sheds its liquid metal and promptly reforms into… another Terminator, which can operate independently.
Yes, it's pretty much a T-1000 wrapped around a T-800. "The rationale in that scene is that he's pinned to the truck.
When you think, 'Okay, he's fucked', he separates and you realise that the game continues," Miller says. The freeway truck chase is another nod to one of the most iconic sequences in Judgment Day.
She'll Be Back
And just in time, here arrives a familiar face, stepping in with a shotgun to save the day. But it's not Arnie – it's Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor, looking more badass than ever before and blasting holes into the new 'bot's liquid metal form, before seeing off its endoskeleton with a rocket launcher. "Sarah continues to fight – there's a nobility in that even though she's cynical and hard-bitten, hope still comes through," Miller explains. "She still gets out of bed every day and hopes to do better for humanity."
While the Terminator has had an upgrade, Dark Fate's protector has too. Blade Runner 2049 star Mackenzie Davis plays Grace, a hardened fighter who's more than human herself.
So much so that Sarah mistakes her for a machine. "She's not a machine," corrects Miller. "She's enhanced. She is a machine-fighter – that's the way I think of her."
Watch this video to see another breakdown of the Dark Fate trailer. Story continues after video.
If there was any ambiguity as to Grace's origins, this sequence dispels it – as a naked Grace beats seven shades of hell out of an investigating officer, in another showcase of her enhanced physicality.
Her lack of apparel clearly suggests that she's been sent back from the link textfuture – either that, or she's a part-time nudist when not fighting to save the world.
Man Of The Woods
The only look at Schwarzenegger's T-800 in the trailer, and it (deliberately) gives nothing away.
Whether he's there to help or hinder is being kept tightly under wraps, though since we see Sarah come knocking at his door and not receiving an Uzi 9mm to the face, it seems safe to say he's probably not an antagonist this time around. "All I can say is he's back and you'll have to watch the movie," says Miller.
The Fasten Seatbelts Sign Has Been Switched On
In a massive set-piece sure to be terrifying viewing for nervous flyers, two giant planes collide in mid-air, flinging the Terminator from one to the other and setting the stage for a mid-air fracas. "This is the start of a big, extended action sequence that has multiple parts," Miller teases. "The plane ride is just the beginning!"
Taken from a sequence early in the film, Davis' Grace faces off against the new Terminator with a whacking great sledgehammer… and gives no ground whatsoever, knocking the killer cyborg around like a rag doll.
"When you see that in the theater, I have to say that the sound mix for that, each blow punches you in the chest," Miller promises. "You feel like you're getting hit yourself with a sledgehammer, it's pretty incredible."
Terminator: Dark Fate arrives in Australian cinemas on October 31st.