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Will We Ever Get A Terminator 7?

So far, the Terminator franchise has been as indestructible as the murderous robots that just can't get over Sarah Connor. But after the disappointing performance of Terminator: Dark Fate, it looks like studio Paramount has vanquished the cybernetic threat once and for all, just without the happy ending of future sequels and adventures. But is there room for another chapter in the Terminator story amidst all the time-travel and alternate timelines?

The last three Terminator films have all attempted to push the franchise in new directions and explore the timeline with more depth. 2009's Terminator Salvation starred a fiery Christian Bale as a young John Connor taking the fight to the machines in the post-apocalypse. The plan was for Bale to headline a new Terminator trilogy, but alas, it was not meant to be. After the company with the rights to the series filed for bankruptcy, plans for the two sequels were completely scrapped — which meant when Terminator: Genisys rolled around in 2015, it quickly became a soft reboot for the entire franchise. At this point, the studio should've just called it Terminator: Reboot.

However, ambition clearly got the best of Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions for a second time. Originally, this soft-reboot trilogy was also going to include a TV series that would tie into the new timeline set up by the Emilia Clarke-led Genisys. And in fairness, the film actually played with some fascinating ideas. How would John Connor's new status as a T-3000 affect the world? Well, audiences would never find out, because the movie's $440.6 million worldwide box office earnings weren't enough to warrant future films running with that idea. Another Terminator film followed, but it was different ... and made about half the amount of money Genisys did.

The trouble with Terminator: Dark Fate

When Terminator: Dark Fate reared its head in 2019, it actually had a lot going for it. One of the biggest selling points was the return of Sarah Connor herself, the incomparable Linda Hamilton, as she reunited with Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800 on-screen for the first time since T2: Judgement Day. And with the film being led by the brilliant Mackenzie Davis as brutal human-machine hybrid Grace, all the ingredients were there for Dark Fate to succeed.

The direct sequel to T2 ignored all the films from the last 20 years, forging a new path involving a completely different robotic threat to Skynet called Legion. Same threat, different name, sure. But by the time the credits rolled, Dark Fate had backed itself into a strange corner after killing off both Grace and Schwarzenegger's domesticated T-800. Davis was meant to return in future sequels as Grace, but it would be a new version of the character raised by both Sarah Connor and future resistance leader Dani. 

During Davis' late 2020 appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, she revealed how her robot-killing hybrid machine was originally set to return in the planned sequels. "It was gonna be a sort of timeline thing, where there'd be another timeline that you'd explore. Like, there's no resurrection, but she came from the future, so..." Davis said, trailing off. 

All these reboots are enough to make Doc Brown's head hurt. So. Many. Timelines.

Audiences probably don't want a Terminator 7

At this point, Terminator 7 could happen, but it doesn't seem very likely. After Dark Fate's disappointing box office reception, making just $261 million on an $185 million budget, it seems like the franchise's — ahem – fate has been sealed. It's disappointing since James Cameron was intending to write the future sequels after producing Dark Fate; given the franchise's recent reliance on CGI, it would've been interesting to see if Cameron could've brought it back to its practical-effects roots. (We all remember when we first saw a fake Schwarzenegger head cut out its own eyeball in The Terminator, right?)

Arguably a bigger question here is whether audiences even want to see a Terminator 7. Davis thinks that audiences are bored of the franchise, which isn't surprising since the six films have exhausted a number of different methods of continuation — sequels, prequels, hard reboots, and soft reboots. (There's no wonder Terminator has been parodied in everything from Family Guy to Rick and Morty.) As Davis told NME in June 2020, "I really loved [Terminator: Dark Fate] and I'm so proud of what we did, but there wasn't a demand for it [at the box office], and to think that there'd be a demand for a seventh film is quite insane. You should just pay attention to what audiences want."

It seems apparent that Skynet and the Terminators have finally been defeated — not by John Connor, Sarah Connor, or an alternate-timeline T-800, but by audiences growing too tired of time-traveling killer robots. For now, it looks like Terminator 7 isn't going to come to fruition. That is, until someone from the future comes back to persuade Paramount and Skydance to revive it, and the cycle starts all over again.