Terminator: Dark Fate features the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a franchise alum, as new robot Carl. Carl will be pivotal to the Dark Fate plot as he helps Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, also a returning alum), Grace (Mackenzie Davis), and Dani (newcomer Natalia Reyes) escape Skynet’s grasp.
Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the Terminator
This will be Schwarzenegger’s fifth time playing a T-800 model (or similar) sent back from 2029 to either destroy or protect Sarah Connor and those she loves. It’s no surprise he’s returned for this new Terminator instalment. The very first film, directed by James Cameron and released in 1984 — helped rocket Schwarzenegger to stardom as an action hero. Since then, he’s been game to reprise his role as the Terminator, appearing in different iterations across the franchise. There are slight tweaks to the parameters of the Terminator’s personality made over the years. However, one thing has remained the same: he’s a formidable foe and an invaluable ally.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is now named Carl
Schwarzenegger is reprising his role as a Terminator with one noticeable update: he’s now named Carl. From what these early pieces footage have indicated, this version of the Terminator has integrated into society. But living in a cabin in the woods suggests he’s either hiding out or biding his time for a big event. Taking on the name “Carl” is further evidence of a desire to assimilate and suggests possible upgrades to the Terminator’s hardware to allow for empathy, humanity, and the like. It’s not the first time the T-800 has taken on a more human name (he went by “Pops” in Terminator: Genisys, although Dark Fate won’t recognize that film’s events as canon). But it’s certainly the name most dissimilar to his look and his personality that he could have chosen.
The T-800 model and Sarah have lots of history, and it can’t just be shelved; Dark Fate is going to deal with it head-on. In the same clip reel shown at SDCC 2019, one thing is made very clear: Sarah doesn’t trust Carl. The footage shows Sarah turning to Carl when they arrive at his cabin, telling him, “I’m never going to f*cking call you Carl,” before going inside. At a separate point in the new footage, Sarah is seen telling Carl she is going to kill him when all is said and done. Carl acknowledges her statement, telling her he’s okay with that. In a final scene from the preview, Carl steps in front of Sarah to protect her from being shot. However, Sarah is somewhat annoyed by his actions.
Sarah and Carl’s relationship will likely become one of the focal points of Terminator: Dark Fate. Regardless of Carl’s past, there’s so much history on Sarah’s part. Whether Carl will meet his end at the hands of Sarah or the pair can find a way to reconcile is a question Terminator: Dark Fate hopefully answers.