In this day and age, it would’ve been easy for director Tim Miller and producer James Cameron — no stranger to technology — to digitally de-age Arnold to make him look more like the T-800s we met in The Terminator in 1984 and T2 in 1991. Heck, there’s even a creepy new deepfake showing young Sylvester Stallone in Arnold’s role in T2. You can do anything digitally these days. But that’s not the story Terminator: Dark Fate wants to tell. Instead, the sixth Terminator movie — which is blowing off everything after T1 and T2 — is very much interested in aging heroes Logan and Unforgiven-style.
Here’s what director Tim Miller explained to Men’s Health about the 72-year-old Arnold as T-800 in Terminator: Dark Fate:
Best he’s ever looked might be pushing it, but I do appreciate Terminator: Dark Fate making a point to showcase older heroes. That’s obviously not just Arnold Schwarzenegger but also Linda Hamilton, whose Sarah Connor had the ultimate transformation from T1 to T2. She’s still the same Sarah Connor we saw at the end of T2, the one who changed the future but didn’t change the fate of the world.
But what about the T-800 the new team seems to visit in the boondocks to recruit for help? Apparently he’s going by “Carl” now. Was the T-800 sent back in time again — after its thumbs-up farewell into lava in T2 — but this time using a more advanced Skynet technology that allows Terminators to age like humans? Dark Fate‘s trailers have shown Mackenzie Davis’ Grace is a cyborg who sees herself as human, and Gabriel Luna plays a very advanced Terminator called the Rev-9 who can split himself in two.
Speaking of the Rev-9, Arnold Schwarzenegger hinted to a showdown between his old man T-800 and the upgraded young shape-shifter:
Terminator: Dark Fate will also bring back T2’s Edward Furlong as John Connor, continuing his story alongside his mom. I’m curious to see what happened after T2, but also a bit fearful that it will take away from that story’s near perfect ending.