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Comic-Con: Linda Hamilton rocks new 'Terminator: Dark Fate' as 'a woman of a certain age'

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Get your first look at the trailer for “Terminator: Dark Fate,” the first film since 1991’s “Judgment Day” to feature original star Linda Hamilton.
Paramount Pictures

SAN DIEGO – After a few iffy entries, the “Terminator” franchise is back in action with old icons, new characters, crazy explosions and so, so many f-bombs.

The stars of the original 1984 “Terminator,” Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, were on hand at Comic-Con to debut blistering new footage for “Terminator: Dark Fate” (in theaters Nov. 1).

“Of course, I needed to come back. I’m addicted to ‘Terminator,'” Schwarzenegger said, adding that James Cameron’s first film “launched my action-movie career. From that moment on, everything changed.”

“Dark Fate,” the sixth “Terminator,” ignores events of the past few films and is a direct sequel to 1991’s “T2: Judgment Day,” in which Sarah Connor (Hamilton) destroyed Cyberdyne and staved off a robot apocalypse.

More: Linda Hamilton picks right up where she left off in ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ trailer

“She hopes it’s good. We wouldn’t have a movie if it was,” says “Dark Fate” director Tim Miller (“Deadpool”). “Sarah is living with the consequences of that decision, and we see how it rolls out 27 years later.”

This time around, a futuristic enhanced human named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) and Sarah – who’s been hunting Terminators in the ensuing years – need to keep young Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) safe from a new, cutting-edge Terminator (Gabriel Luna). For help, the women track down the old T-800 (Schwarzenegger), who now calls himself “Carl,”  for extra firepower.

Miller “was the perfect guy to direct it,” Schwarzenegger said. “You’ll be really surprised by this movie. I was blown away.”

While a return was a no-brainer for Schwarzenegger, Hamilton needed some time. “I really gave it careful consideration,” she said. “I felt the first two were (great) and you want to retire a champion. But it was the passage of time. The character is the same, but time changes everything. What has happened to make her who she is now 27 years later.

“I felt there was a world of richness I could explore, and then rock it as a woman of a certain age.”

Hamilton did a lot of dieting and training to get back to her “T2” shape. “People will always talk about the training and the body, but the real work I did was the exploration of a woman who’s an outsider, and life hasn’t worked out so well. … I had to go to my deepest sorrows and place of loss, and that’s what makes Sarah Connor Sarah Connor.”

But Hamilton realized, she said, “I am so much more than I was. My life experience is only going to enrich the character I will play.”

She’s still formidable onscreen, too. Davis said Hamilton would win a hypothetical  fistfight, and Hamilton agreed: “She’s definitely younger and stronger, but I am meaner.”

There was a lot of cursing and bantering between cast members on the panel – Luna gave Schwarzenegger $20 after losing a bet on how many F-bombs Miller would drop – and the director promised that “Dark Fate” would be rated R.

“It wasn’t always that way,”  Miller said. “It was because the fans demanded it in a way. I had a whole other plan, but the thing is, the DNA of ‘Terminator’ is an R-rated (expletive) movie. So to not do R feels disingenuous for the source material.”

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