Terminator: Dark Fate is a 2019 American science fiction action film directed by Tim Miller and written by David Goyer, Justin Rhodes, and Billy Ray from a story by James Cameron, Charles Eglee, Josh Friedman, Goyer, and Rhodes. Cameron also produced the film with David Ellison. It is the sixth installment in the Terminator franchise and a sequel to The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), taking place in an alternate timeline to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and Terminator Salvation (2009), following the return of creative control to Cameron.
The film stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Sarah Connor and the T-800 Terminator, respectively, reuniting the actors after 23 years. It introduces Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, and Diego Boneta as new characters. Set 25 years after the events of Terminator 2, the film sees the machines sending an advanced Terminator (Luna), designated Rev-9, back in time to 2020 to kill Dani Ramos (Reyes), whose fate is connected to the future. The Resistance also sends Grace (Davis), an augmented soldier, back in time to defend Dani, while they are joined by Sarah Connor and Skynet's T-800 Terminator.
Principal photography took place from June to November 2018 in Hungary, Spain, and the United States. Distributed by Paramount Pictures in North America, Tencent Pictures in China and 20th Century Fox in other territories, the film was released theatrically in the United States on November 1, 2019. Critics considered the film an improvement over previous installments and praised the cast and action scenes, but found its narrative choices polarizing. Grossing $261 million against a production budget of $185–196 million, the film is estimated to have lost as much as $130 million, and plans for future films were cancelled.
In 1998, three years after destroying Cyberdyne Systems Corporation, Sarah and John Connor are enjoying life by a beach in Livingston, Guatemala, when they are suddenly accosted by a T-800 Terminator. One of several sent back through time by Skynet, the Terminator kills John and leaves, despite Sarah's attempts to stop it.
An advanced Terminator, the Rev-9, is sent back in time to Mexico City in 2020, to murder Dani Ramos, while a cybernetically enhanced soldier, Grace, is sent from 2042 to protect her. The Rev-9, disguised as Dani's father, infiltrates the automobile assembly plant where Dani and her brother Diego work, but is thwarted by Grace, who escapes with the siblings. The Rev-9, using its ability to split into two distinct entities (its cybernetic endoskeleton and shape-shifting liquid metal exterior), pursues them, killing Diego and cornering Grace and Dani. However, Sarah arrives and temporarily disables both entities using explosives.
Dani, Grace, and Sarah retreat to a motel. Sarah reveals that she found them because in the years since John's death, she has received encrypted messages detailing the locations of arriving Terminators, each ending with "For John", allowing her to destroy them before they become threats. Grace notes that Skynet and John do not exist in her future and thus Sarah had succeeded in destroying the former after Cyberdyne went defunct. However, humanity's future is threatened by another AI called Legion, originally developed for cyberwarfare; Sarah merely eliminated Legion's competition. When Legion became a threat to humans, an attempt was made to neutralize it with nuclear weapons, resulting in a nuclear holocaust and the AI creating a global network of machines to terminate the human survivors. The survivors then organized as the Human Resistance to counter Legion's onslaughts.
Grace traces Sarah's messages to Laredo, Texas. Barely evading the Rev-9 and the authorities while crossing the Mexico–United States border, they arrive at their source, where they discover the same T-800 that murdered John. Having fulfilled its mission and with Skynet no longer existing, the T-800 was left aimless. Through learning, however, it became self-aware. During that time, it learned from humanity and developed a conscience, taking the name "Carl" and adopting a human family. After learning how its actions affected Sarah and being able to detect the location of temporal displacements, Carl decided to forewarn her of them to give her purpose to make amends. Carl offers to join them against the Rev-9, and they prepare to destroy it, with Sarah begrudgingly agreeing to work together for Dani's sake. Anticipating the Rev-9's arrival, Carl bids its family farewell and tells them to escape.