Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Terminator: Dark Fate.
Terminator: Dark Fate is a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and is packed with Easter eggs and references to James Cameron’s first two Terminator movies. Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger are back as Sarah Connor and the T-800, with Mackenzie Davis also starring as cyborg character Grace, and Natalia Reyes playing Dani, a young woman who has the future survival of humanity resting on her shoulders.
With the intention of revitalizing the franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate discards all the continuity from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines onwards, and heavily billed Cameron’s return in a producer role (with Deadpool‘s Tim Miller directing). It hasn’t been quite the success that Paramount Pictures was hoping for, with mixed reviews and a disappointing opening weekend box office. Still, long-time fans of the franchise will probably find a lot to love in Terminator: Dark Fate – from machine-on-machine violence to epic highway car chases.
As Sarah and the T-800 return as very different people, 35 years after they first clashed on the big screen, let’s break down the biggest Easter eggs and references in Terminator: Dark Fate.
“I’ll Be Back”
Let’s start with the most obvious Easter egg in Terminator: Dark Fate. “I’ll be back“ originated in the 1984 film when the T-800 said it ominously to a police desk sergeant before returning to the building (inside a vehicle) and launching into a massacre. Schwarzenegger’s deadpan delivery of the line, not to mention the payoff, were so memorable that Cameron remixed the scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, with the now-friendly T-800 telling Sarah and John Connor, “I’ll be back,” before driving a truck through the front doors of the Cyberdyne building to help them escape. The line has made a comeback in every Terminator movie since, and Dark Fate is no exception. However, this time around it’s Sarah Connor who gets to deliver the line, while Arnie says a new variant: “I won’t be back.”
100 Dead Cops
In another callback to the original “I’ll be back” scene, the group is being pursued by the Rev-9 when Dani asks if they can go to the police for help. Sarah grimly replies that if they put 100 cops between themselves and the Terminator, they’d end up with “100 dead cops.” She’s speaking from experience here, as in The Terminator she and Kyle Reese were apprehended by the police – which ended up being very unfortunate for everyone working in that particular police station. The Terminator slaughtered the cops that got between himself and his target, while Sarah and Kyle barely escaped wit their lives, leaving Sarah with the clear impression that law enforcement would never be able to protect her from a killing machine.
Carl’s Draperies Phone Number is the Original Terminator Day
The T-800 in Terminator: Dark Fate isn’t the same one who attacked Sarah Connor in The Terminator, or the one who befriended John Connor in Terminator 2. Instead, he’s a backup Terminator who was also sent back in time to kill John Connor – and succeeded. Having fulfilled his mission, and with the future he came from eliminated thanks to the destruction of Skynet, this T-800 took up the name Carl, adopted a human family, and started his own business: Carl’s Draperies. The number for Carl’s Draperies – 888-512-1984 – is displayed prominently on the side of his van (and if you call it you’ll get to hear a special message from Carl). However, the number is also a reference to the date that Kyle Reese is sent back to in The Terminator: May 12th, 1984. The start of the number, 888, in addition to being a toll-free number, is also the number of one of the Terminator models featured in The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Copied Subjects Are Terminated
The Rev-9 has similar capabilities to the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, in that it can use its liquid metal skin to imitate any person (and form clothing). In that movie, John Connor asks the T-800 what happens to the original person, and he replies, “Typically, the subject being copied is terminated.” Terminator: Dark Fate has a similar exchange after the Rev-9 arrives at the factory where Dani works, disguised as her father. After being told what has happened, Dani wants to go home and make sure her father is alright, but Grace tells her explicitly that people who are copied don’t survive. Although this is more clear-cut than in Terminator 2, the implication is the same: the T-1000 and Rev-9 both kill whomever they copy for the sake of more effectively taking over their identities.
Probability For Success
When you’re planning how to take down a Terminator, it’s always useful to have another Terminator at your side doing calculations. In Terminator 2, the T-800 warns John away from reaching out to his mother, telling him, “The T-1000’s highest probability for success will be to copy Sarah Connor and wait for you to make contact with her.” In Dark Fate, the T-800 uses his internal calculator to conclude that the probability of Sarah, Dani, Grace and himself successfully managing to defeat the Rev-9 without a specialized EMP weapon is just 12%.
“Guitars, Cadillacs” Makes a Comeback
One of the most memorable scenes in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the T-800’s extremely nude entrance into a biker bar, where he finds someone who looks the right size and demands his clothes, his boots, and his motorcycle. The song that plays during this scene is “Guitars, Cadillacs,” by country singer Dwight Yoakam. At one point in Terminator: Dark Fate, the Rev-9 (literally) crashes a family barbecue where that song is playing – one of the movie’s many callbacks to Judgment Day.
The Rev-9’s Name References the Book of Revelation
In Terminator: Dark Fate‘s new terrible future, Skynet is out and Legion is in. Legion is an artificial intelligence designed for cyberwarfare that also rose up and attempted to wipe out humanity using the weapons at its disposal. Legion’s name is a reference to a New Testament passage in which Jesus meets a man possessed by demons and asks him his name. The man replies, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”
Legion’s Biblical references extend to the names of its Terminator models, which include the terrifying Rev-7s that attack Grace’s troop, and of course Gabriel Luna’s Rev-9, who goes back in time to stop the human Resistance at its root. The Rev- models are a reference to the Book of Revelation, the final book of the New Testament, which predicts the Apocalypse. The opening of Revelation 9 – “I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss” – is particularly appropriate considering how the Rev-9 arrives in the present day: materializing several stories above the ground and crashing down to earth.
Come With Me If You Want To Not Die
“I’ll be back,” isn’t the only classic line that makes a comeback in Terminator: Dark Fate. When Sarah Connor first encountered time-traveling savior (and John Connor’s father) Kyle Reese in The Terminator, he told her, “Come with me if you want to live.” Like “I’ll be back,” this line proved so iconic that it was used over and over again in the Terminator franchise. The T-800 gets to say it in Terminator 2, Kyle Reese got to say it again (for the first time?) in Terminator: Salvation, Emilia Clarke’s Sarah Connor got to say it in Terminator: Genisys, and the line was used multiple times in The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Terminator: Dark Fate attempts to shake things up a bit by having Grace say, “Come with me or you’re dead in the next 30 seconds.”
No Fate But What We Make
It may not be quoted as often as “I’ll be back” or “Come with me if you want to live,” but another catchphrase of the Terminator franchise – “No fate but what we make” – also returns in Terminator: Dark Fate, this time spoken by Grace. Interestingly, the line didn’t actually appear in the theatrical cut of The Terminator, but was said by Sarah Connor in a deleted scene where she tries to comfort an emotionally distraught Kyle Reese. The line did appear, however, in every movie from Terminator 2 onwards, sometimes paired with “The future is not set.” However, it could be argued that Terminator: Dark Fate disproves this motto, since even the destruction of Skynet wasn’t enough to save humanity from the machine apocalypse – implying that the machines were always fated to rise up one way or another.
Dark Fate Ends The Same Way As Rise of the Machines
For as much as Terminator: Dark Fate exists to wipe Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines off the map, it actually ends in the exact same way. Rise of the Machines starred Kristanna Loken as the T-X, a new kind of Terminator that is even more advanced and harder to kill than the T-1000. However, the T-101 (a version of Arnie’s Terminator sent back by the Resistance to protect John Connor) eventually manages to kill the Terminatrix by removing his own power core and jamming it into her skull, declaring, “You are terminated” before she explodes and destroys them both. In Dark Fate, it’s Grace that sacrifices her power core to take down the Rev-9, and Dani who jams it into the Rev-9’s skull. The T-800 still has his part to play, however, by dragging the Rev-9 down into a pit, where it is impaled and left helpless as the power core destroys both of the robots.
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