Although the new “Rev 9” Terminator in Terminator: Dark Fate will rely heavily on CGI, especially when it takes liquid metal form like a T-1000, Gabriel Luna will bring the intimidating new enemy to life and build on the legacy established by both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick in the first two movies. But when asked about the new model of automated assassin at San Diego Comic Con, Luna responded with the enthusiasm and expertise of a man who knows the technology of the future almost as well as the role itself.
“The Rev 9 is the latest in anti-personnel technology,” Luna told us on the press line, winding up his sales pitch like a Security Concepts executive in Robocop. “And the beautiful thing is we’ve incorporated everything that made the T-800 great: the strength of having the metal endoskeleton. But [we] also incorporated… the chameleon-like nature of the T-1000, able to assume other personas and get close to the target in that way and be efficient in how you acquire your target and hopefully try to execute your target.”
But just like Luna’s character in Agents of SHIELD, the Robbie Reyes version of Ghost Rider, this Terminator model will have the robot equivalent of leather biker’s gear. “It’s all black… everything looks better in black,” Luna explained. “You got an endoskeleton that’s carbon-based and liquid that’s carbon substance alloy. And of course I can split, and I can descend on a target from multiple angles which just makes it that much more dangerous.”
This new splitting ability makes the Rev 9 just a touch more powerful than its predecessors, and it was important to director Tim Miller that the new model not be too outlandishly upgraded. “I didn’t want to make a Terminator that was so powerful that you can’t fight it off with guns,” Miller told us in our SDCC 2019 magazine cover story. “I didn’t want to make a Terminator that could shoot ray blasts out of its hands or turn things into molten lava. All of that stuff, while visually spectacular, just doesn’t feel like a Terminator movie. We tried very hard to make Gabriel as formidable as possible while also keeping him and the action grounded.”
Of course, Schwarzenegger had plenty of advice for Luna about how to play a robotic killer when the two of them trained together for Terminator: Dark Fate. “He encouraged me to do what it is that I saw fit for the character,” Luna said. “But when I pressed him for a little bit of advice, he was like, ‘You know, it’s all effortless… everything is effortless. The mag changes, the way you move your arm, everything…” And that was great, because that was already something I was building in my mind about the efficiency of the character.”
And, of course, Luna added one bit of obvious advice Schwarzenegger gave him, from one Terminator to another: “Don’t blink.”
Keep up with all of the news surrounding Terminator: Dark Fate here. You can also hear a bit about the SDCC panel for the movie in The Den of Geek Podcast highlights of Night 1.
Read and download the Den of Geek SDCC 2019 Special Edition Magazine right here!
Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). He co-hosts our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast and coordinates interviews for The Fourth Wall podcast.