'Terminator: Dark Fate' Will Continue John Connor's Story, James Cameron Says

It was the question on everyone's lips after the first trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate hit: Where is John Connor? The prophesied leader of the resistance against a war against Skynet and the savior of the world is seemingly nowhere to be seen in the newest Terminator film, despite the return of familiar franchise faces Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 cyborg.

But producer and franchise creator James Cameron assures that a connection between Terminator: Dark Fate and John Connor still exists. In fact, despite the future resistance leader's notable non-appearance, Terminator: Dark Fate will be a continuation of John Connor's story.

In an interview on Flicks and the City (via JoBlo), Cameron explained that Terminator: Dark Fate will be continuing John Connor's story from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, for which Dark Fate plays as a direct sequel:

"I think the best way to think about Terminator: Dark Fate is to think about it as a direct sequel to Terminator 2, the third film in a series if you will. We'll be continuing John's story, with Sarah's story, and the T-800 returns — a different T-800 with a very different role to play than what we've seen before."

The last time we saw John in this continuity, he was a pint-sized rebel played by Edward Furlong, whose mother (Hamilton) had been long preparing him for the robot apocalypse. We see Hamilton in her sunglass-wearing, shotgun-wielding glory in Terminator: Dark Fate, now teaming up with a female cyborg (Mackenzie Davis) sent to protect a young woman named Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), but her all-important son is strangely absent. It's unknown why Skynet is targeting Dani instead of their favorite target, John Connor, though that will presumably be explained in the film.

Tim Miller directs Terminator: Dark Fate, which ignores the films Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Terminator Salvation, and Terminator: Genisys and picks up 30 years after the events of T2. In contrast to the big-budget spectacle of the latter films, Cameron promises that Dark Fate will resemble the gritty, violent action of the first two Terminator films as well, promising a hard-R tone:

"I think, tonally, what makes this a direct sequel to T1 and T2 is as much about the tone as it is about the narrative: It's R rated, it's grim, it's gritty, it's fast, it's intense, it's very linear. The whole story takes place in 36 hours. It's not this kind of grandiose, complex story. It's just very focused on the characters, it's very now, it's very present and it's just a fast white-knuckle ride."

In addition to Hamilton and Schwarzenegger, Dark Fate also stars Mackenzie Davis as Grace, "a soldier-assassin sent from the future to protect Dani Ramos from a new Terminator"; Gabriel Luna as "a liquid metal Terminator with the ability to split into two separate units, sent to terminate Dani Ramos"; Natalia Reyes as "Dani Ramos, a young woman targeted for termination by the new Terminator"; and Diego Boneta as Miguel Ramos, Dani's brother.

Terminator: Dark Fate arrives in theaters this fall on November 1, 2019.