Saturday, November 16, 2019

A Less Lame Fate for John Connor in TERMINATOR: DARK FATE

When Terminator: Dark Fate was slated for release, I really wanted to see it. They were bringing back Linda Hamilton for Sarah Connor and Edward Furlong for John Connor, which was pretty cool. Of the Terminator films I've seen, Terminator and Terminator II: Judgement Day were the best ones, with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation being kind of meh. I didn't even bother with Terminator: Genisys due to awful reviews and the whole "John Connor gets turned into a robot" part, even though the idea of a Terminator raising Sarah Connor to be a bad-ass after an evil Terminator tried to kill her as a child seemed kind of cool.

Then I learned that in Dark Fate they basically kill off John pretty early on and the future leader of the resistance against the machines--this time a new being called Legion instead of SkyNet--is a Mexican woman named Dani Ramos. I can understand the desire by many in the entertainment industry to appeal to more diverse audiences and make it so not every hero of every story is a white male, but killing off John Connor to make way for a Mexican female leader of the resistance is about as subtle as hitting the audience in the head with a sledgehammer.

So here's an idea I had that would allow for a younger, more diverse cast to take the stage without showing contempt for John Connor, who it turns out wasn't that important after all. It's based on this deleted scene from a special director's cut of T2:

In a world where Judgement Day never happened, John Connor is now a U.S. Senator and as such has access to all sorts of classified information, which he passes onto his mother, who uses it to fight SkyNet incursions. This is similar to how the "Carl" Terminator that killed John Connor but ultimately learned to love and fight for humanity secretly sends Sarah information to help her fight other SkyNet incursions. Perhaps in defeating one such attack, Sarah captures a Terminator and reprograms it to help her fight other Terminators, thus leading to this world's version of "Carl."

Ultimately, like in the canonical film, SkyNet and its future are ultimately erased, leaving "Carl" stranded in our world as the last of his kind. However, the new evil AI Legion emerges later and the whole "time-traveling machine war" starts up again, with Dani as the prophesied leader of this new resistance much like John Connor was the prophesied leader of the old one.

This solution seems like it would please everybody--it keeps the more diverse and female-centric cast that many people liked about Dark Fate (John doesn't even need to be physically present for the action--he could send Sarah information that allows her to find Dani and Grace before the new Rev-9 Terminator kills them) while at the same time avoiding a rather bone-headed attempt at being "woke."

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