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Terminator: Dark Fate director promises a new kind of protector in upcoming sequel

Attention all Terminator fans: a new sort of hero is rising to battle Skynet, and her name is Grace.

At least that's the claim from director Tim Miller about the new character portrayed by Mackenzie Davis in the upcoming sequel Terminator: Dark Fate

In a recent interview with VarietyMiller took a little time to discuss the origins of Davis' character, and the need to bring something fresh to a franchise that, now five films and a TV series-strong, has sort of been spinning its wheels since James Cameron left the directors chair after 1991's game-changing T2: Judgement Day.

As for how the Dark Fate team first conceived the Grace character, Miller noted that the film's writers keyed in on one of the more vital elements within the franchise's stronger entries — that element being a trinity of central characters (i.e., a predator, a prey, and a protector). Those of you who have seen the Terminator: Dark Fate trailer have likely already identified that trinity in the guise of a new shape-shifting T-800 called the Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna), a young woman named Daniella "Dani" Ramos (Natalia Reyes), and Davis' Grace, who appears to be an "upgraded" human-machine hybrid fully capable of taking on Skynet's toughest assassins. 

Grace is certainly a new wrinkle for the franchise, and especially so for the understandably technophobic human resistance fighters within — though it also seems like a necessary gamble for humanity. Miller was quick to point out that these human-machine fighters serve "a very sacrificial role," and that "they don't live a long time" and are "forced to take a lot drugs to combat what's been done to them." He also noted that Grace was always conceived as a woman, which meant they needed to find an actress who could embody the femininity, the physicality, and the humanity required for the role. They also needed someone who could hold her own against returning series icons Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Terminator: Dark Fate team found it all in the frame of relative newcomer Mackenzie Davis. If you're unfamiliar with the up-and-coming actress, it's probable you've actually seen her face before via the "San Junipero" episode of Black Mirror, or from her brief but memorable turn opposite Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner: 2049. And if you're looking to get even more familiar with Davis' work, we'd urge you to check out last year's egregiously overlooked postpartum dramedy Tully, and 2016's equally passed-up psychological thriller Always Shine. You should also probably head over to Netflix and binge the entire run of Mackenzie's now-cancelled AMC series Halt and Catch Fire for good measure.

Look, all we're trying to say here is that any doubts about whether Davis can hold her own in Terminator land are completely unfounded, because she's a badass, she's always been a badass, and our hope against hope its that Dark Fate finally announces that fact to the world. 

It's worth noting, of course, that Dark Fate's ultimate fate lay not in Davis' hands (or Hamilton's, or Arnie's), but those of Miller, who faces the nearly insurmountable task of righting a franchise ship that's been on the verge of capsizing for a couple of decades now. Luckily, Miller and his writing team (fronted by heavy-hitters David Goyer and Billy Ray) came into the project looking to completely reinvent the franchise, thus cleansing the public's palate of recent misfires Terminator: Salvation and Terminator: Genisys. If Miller manages to infuse Terminator: Dark Fate with the same fresh energy he brought to the superhero genre in 2016's Deadpool, we have every reason to believe he may do just that — even if history seems to be working against him.

Unless you're one of the lucky few hitting Miller's Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con in a couple of weeks, you're going to have to wait until Dark Fate hits theaters on November 1 to find out. Keep those fingers crossed, kids.