'Terminator: Dark Fate 2'? How this story could continue in a sequel.

Will the Terminator be back ... again?

In Terminator: Dark Fate, the future is female, but what does it all mean for the future of the franchise? Is a sequel possible? How does the ending of Dark Fate leave things if that were to happen? Here’s all that and more.

Spoilers follow for Terminator: Dark Fate.

Franchise creator James Cameron had nothing to do with the three previous Terminator films (Rise of the Machines, Salvation, and Genisys), but much like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s murder machine, he’s “back” with Dark Fate, helping develop the script and produce. Linda Hamilton also returned as Sarah Connor in a direct continuation of her story from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Their involvement in the story helped make it the best Terminator film in years.

In Dark Fate, a cyborg from the future named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) is sent back in time to protect a young Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) from being killed by the most advanced Terminator the franchise has ever produced, the Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna). Like John Connor before her, Dani is the future leader of the human resistance after artificial intelligences take over the planet. She and Grace struggle to survive against impossible odds, but with the help of Hamilton’s Sarah Connor and a surprising new Schwarzenegger Terminator, the mission is a success — albeit at heavy costs.

Grace tries to protect a distraught Dani in 'Terminator: Dark Fate'.

Paramount Pictures

The general plot structure for Terminator movies was established with the first film in 1984, rendering each story somewhat predictable. An underdog hero is sent back in time to defend a person who’s important to the future from being murdered by an even more advanced murder robot. Grace being mostly human, the presence of Sarah, and the addition of Schwarzenegger’s role as “Carl” — a king, aging Terminator living in human society — complicates Dark Fate in interesting ways. Despite all that, every character with ties to the future winds up dead, as Terminator tradition mandates.

During the epic final battle, Dani has to extract a dying Grace’s power core and jab it into the Rev-9. After a badly damaged Carl sacrifices what’s left of his hardware to deal the killing blow, Sarah Connor and Dani Ramos are the only survivors. There’s a bittersweet final scene where the two women go watch a young Grace on a playground with other children, and they ride off into the sunset. We get some narration about how they need to prepare for the eventual Judgment Day, which certainly leaves this open for more Terminator stories with these characters.

The evil robots of the future will keep sending robots back in time to kill Dani, and even if she dies, someone else in the course of human history will rise to replace her like she did to replace John Connor.

But will and of this actually happen?

Cinemablend reports that Sarah Connor actress Linda Hamilton, who is 63, has little interest in returning for another action-packed sequel.

“I’ve been threatening to fake my own death so I wouldn’t have to do the next one if there is one,” she said. “It really was hard, it was the hardest and the greatest I’ve ever done.”

At the very least, it seems like Paramount Pictures would have to pay her a lot of money to return again.

Linda Hamilton returns as Sarah Connor in 'Terminator: Dark Fate'.

Paramount Pictures

In an interview with Collider, creator James Cameron spoke about the potential for future movies “to explore the human relationship with artificial intelligence” even if “Dark Fate stands alone as a pretty good one-time story.” As of 2017, Cameron’s plan was to use this movie to kickstart a new trilogy, and it sounds like the idea is still on his mind.

“I feel that we set the stage or we set the table for that exploration, and that exploration would take place in a second film and a third film,” he said. “What we wanted to get in the first movie was this idea that it’s just going to keep happening. The names will change, but the basic conflict is going to continue to take place until it gets resolved one way or the other.”

If this is true, then future Terminator movies could just rehash the same story over and over with new characters; They don’t need to preserve much continuity between films. None, some, or all of the actors from Dark Fate could reprise a version of their roles, leaving the Terminator franchise in a unique position where it could go in virtually any direction.

Now we just have to wait to hear if the studio decides to make it happen.

Terminator: Dark Fate will be released in theaters November 1, 2019.

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