Tim Miller Thinks There's a Simple Reason Why Other Terminator Sequels Weren't as Good as Dark Fate

Sarah Connor and her ol’ friend, the Terminator.
Sarah Connor and her ol’ friend, the Terminator.
Image: Paramount Pictures

Beyond the obvious reasons, you know. Bad directing, bad writing, a lack of clear ideas, those are all problems that can torpedo any movie, and that the Terminator franchise post the first two films have had in spades. But according to Tim Miller, the director of Terminator: Dark Fate, there was one core element missing.


During a recent appearance on Cinema Blend’s ReelBlend podcast, he went into detail on what, precisely, that element is. In two words: Linda Hamilton. And, by extension, Sarah Connor herself.

“I knew the answer to that: it didn’t have Linda Hamilton in it,” Miller said. “It is essentially Sarah’s story. And even if they focused on Sarah, it’s not Linda Hamilton. And that’s always gonna feel odd. And that’s nobody’s fault, I’m not taking away from anything in those movies.”

It’s a straightforward but actually kind of revelatory thesis. Terminator, at least in the popular consciousness, isn’t really Sarah Connor’s story—it’s the broader story of a bizarre apocalypse, time travel, and the Terminators themselves. To most people, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a much more vital piece of Terminatordom than Sarah Connor. But the focus Connor, and Linda Hamilton in particular, lends to the franchise is undeniable, and I feel a bit ashamed of myself for not seeing it sooner.

Miller’s idea also explains why the only good Terminator sequel before Dark Fate was The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Like this film, it’s focused on the ongoing saga of Sarah Connor versus her worst enemy—not the Terminators, not Skynet, but a fate which says she’s already screwed. And Sarah Connor is always determined to win, no matter what.

Terminator: Dark Fate is in theaters now.

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.



I gotta say- Dark Fate is not much better than the other sequels and for all of Tim Miller’s talk about Sarah Conner etc- he left Linda Hamilton stranded in a generic tough-old-broad role.

It is time for a new brand of killer robot- The Terminator is an exhausted franchise.