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‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Timeline Fixed By Shotgunning Our Childhoods

The new movie is so determined not to ruin your childhood that it has literally brought your childhood along for the ride.

Credit: Tri-Star/Paramount

How will the new Terminator movie reconcile its confusing timeline with the rest of alternate universes of the Terminator franchise? It looks like there’s one plot twist more powerful than reboots or retcons: Childhood nostalgia. In 1991, child actor Edward Furlong rode shotgun with the T-800 murder-bot in Terminator 2: Judgement Day and every nineties kid wanted to be him. Now, after 28 years, Furlong is back, playing an adult John Connor, all grown-up in the upcoming robot-nostalgia-explosion Terminator: Dark Fate. Unlike previous Terminator sequels, prequels and sideways-quels, this new film is so determined not to ruin everyone’s good memories of T2 that in bringing Furlong back, it is literally brought our collective childhoods back, too.

On Thursday, at panel at San Diego Comic-Con, the news of Furlong’s return was dropped along with several other tidbits about the movie. Here’s, briefly the cool shit you need to know about Terminator: Dark Fate.

  • Arnold is playing the T-800 who is now named “Carl” which is apparently not a joke. Though, during the panel Linda Hamilton said: “I’m not fucking calling you Carl.”
  • Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor has been hunting Terminators since we last saw her in T2.
  • Mackenzie Davis is playing half-human Cyborg.
  • Gabriel Luna is the new “bad” Terminator, and yeah, he’s made of liquid.
  • Furlong is back as John Connor.

And, finally, and perhaps most relevantly, director Tim Miller cryptically said: “There is only one timeline in the Terminator universe.” This seems to imply time travel and alternate realities won’t be used to explain why Furlong’s John Connor has, since 1991, been played by the following actors: Nick Stahl, Christian Bale, and most recently, Jason Clarke in the super-confusing 2015 movie Terminator Genisys, which also starred Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor. (And let’s not even get into the 2008 show The Sarah Connor Chronicles where Sarah was played by Lena Headey.)

Basically, Miller said that though he likes stuff like Avengers: Endgame, he thinks “time travel with multiple realities loses some stakes.” Meaning, there apparently will be no time travel that creates alternate dimensions, but apparently, still a little bit of time travel, because that’s um…the plot of all the Terminator movies?

In case you maybe forgot; the premise of Terminator is based on time travel. The reason Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator is terminating, to begin with, is because he’s supposed to kill John Connor’s mother before John can be born and cause a revolution that destroys the robots. (And presumably, then go on to look like Nick Stahl, Christian Bale or the dad from the new Pet Sematary while doing it.)

So, how will the movie address the various different versions of the timeline? It sounds like if Miller is serious, you’re just going to have to use childhood nostalgia to prevent Judgement Day from becoming super-Judgemental Day. In other words, if you have questions about the Terminator timeline, just remember what Arnold said in Terminator 3.

Terminator: Dark Fate is out November 19, 2019.