*We first reported this on February 26 2020 on our Youtube channel. Scroll down for video.
Terminator: Dark Fate split fans with its controversial plot decisions and marketing, its lacklustre teasers and promotional material, plot leaks, the termination of John Connor, the erasure of Kyle Reese, the replacement of Skynet and the borrowed ideas from now non-canon instalments, not to mention its political narrative and reliance on CGI – but then there was also director, Tim Miller’s comments about online misogyny surrounding Mackenzie Davis and the aesthetic of ‘Grace’.
Whilst being interviewed by Variety in the run-up to SDCC 2019, Miller was asked about how he thought Grace would be received, he said:
“If you’re at all enlightened, she’ll play like gangbusters. If you’re a closet misogynist, she’ll scare the f–k out of you, because she’s tough and strong but very feminine. We did not trade certain gender traits for others; she’s just very strong, and that frightens some dudes. You can see online the responses to some of the early s–t that’s out there, trolls on the internet. I don’t give a f–k.”Tim Miller to Variety
Our website previously stated:
“The possible reasoning as to why ‘Grace’ might look a certain way; short hair? Head lice and lack of hygiene in the future war environment resulting in a shorter style for easier maintenance. Thin frame and prominent musculature? Malnutrition – a scarcity of food and nutrients, again, in the future war environment. Both of these examples can be seen in S.M Stirling’s T2 novel ‘Infiltrator’. All Tim Miller had to do to ease fan concerns about the aesthetic choice was to explain that the finished movie would explain it all.TheTerminatorFans.com
The director steps in nearly twelve months later? Right before Comic-Con 2019? As the movie’s relevancy appears to be waning? After the disastrous leaks? After fan backlash about a certain notorious scene?
Yes, some comments made after the first image appeared online were unacceptable but that is not an example of the entire fan-base – the majority of Terminator Fans have never had a problem with a strong female lead. Many fans have expressed their opinions, good and bad, about Terminator: Dark Fate; most logical and well thought-out – and it is unacceptable for the people involved with the making of this movie to make blanket statements about fans; statements which were made without clarification.
The comments of Tim Miller are of suspicious timing, and are damaging to the property as they alienate the prospective audience.”
Now it appears that Tim Miller has finally given some clarification on his remarks – albeit in a somewhat backhanded manner; he spoke to KCRW and entertainment journalist Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter, and the conversation encompassed both the box office failure of Dark Fate and the success of the Sonic movie.
*Transcribed by TheTerminatorFans.com
“There was a lot of ‘get woke and go broke’ sentiment that didn’t help us but- “Tim Miller
“What does that mean? I’m not sure what ge… “KCRW
“Uh, get woke and go- there was a lot of issues about having three women in lead positions and…”Tim Miller
“and yeah, and all that stuff.”Tim Miller
“I have a hard time getting my mind to accept that people react that way to- “KCRW
“I do too, there was quite a toxic atmosphere around this film online, which I was really, I was really surprised at. I shouldn’t be but I was.”Tim Miller
“It’s very hard to know… you feel like the fans know what they DON’T want – not necessarily what they do,”KCRW
“and you just sort of feel like they’re lying in wait and some, some of the fans; not all of course but some.”KCRW
“Yeah, and unfortunately I think it is a small minority but it’s a very vocal minority, and they make a lot of noise and it is hard. You know I- I don’t dwell online on the negativity but it’s human nature to read a little bit and… there was one I did at Vanity Fair, it was a breakdown of a scene and I’m in a dark blue shirt and I’m in a small room in the hotel where they were doing the junket, and it’s hot and there’s lots of lights in there and so by the end of the hour of interview – I’m sweating, right? And I just read a couple of comments and they’re like ‘Look at this f*cking guy! He’s sweating because he destroyed the franchise!’, ‘Look at this guy! He’s sweating because he knows his career is over and he’s tanked the franchise!’ and I’m like ‘No, I’m sweating because the room’s hot and there’s a lot of lights on me and maybe I didn’t put on enough antiperspirant. I’m not nervous or, you know, there’s nothing… ‘ anyway, it’s both sad and funny to see the stories that people put out there, versus what banal sh*t that is really going on.”Tim Miller:
“I was just talking to a producer, it’s like I stay off of social media because it’s so toxic and I thought ‘but do you really?’ because it feels like it’s so tempting, even though you know you shouldn’t – don’t read it but you read it anyway.”KCRW
“You read a lit- yeah, you read a little bit.”Tim Miller
“Then you’re like ‘sorry, why did I look at that?’.”KCRW
“I do feel that there’s some value to this perspective, you know, there’s some insight into what are people thinking, you can’t… “Tim Miller
“Some people are, some of them are just trolls and they’re gonna troll everything,”KCRW
“Some of them are genuinely- I don’t know, to sit around and just be that nasty about somebody’s best efforts seems a bit gratuitous.”KCRW
“It is true but we did some stuff that I knew was gonna be controversial, yeah.”Tim Miller
On the Sonic redesign and the online fan ‘blowback’ at the legendary hedgehog’s tiny little teeth and oddly curvaceous legs, Tim Miller said:
“It was a tactical error on the design,”Tim Miller
“of Sonic, uh, for sure but Jeff was- Jeff took ownership of it right away and he said: ‘look, we hear you and we’re gonna fix it’, and they did. I mean, the new design, the new trailer came out and generally speaking everybody’s… “Tim Miller
“So you think he can overcome the bad version that people hated?”KCRW
“Oh yeah, I think so, and what’s more, I think rightly so; he gets credit for listening.”Tim Miller
“Fans like to be heard. You know, if you’re gonna scream, the best thing that can happen is somebody listens to you.”Tim Miller
“Although you can’t listen to all of the noise out there, obviously.”KCRW
“No, and I know there’s a lot of like- you can’t be held hostage to that but use your good judgement. I think Jeff realised it. “Tim Miller
“It’s time to try to reset, yeah.”KCRW
“Yeah. I think he realised that he needed to fix it.”Tim Miller
It very much appears that there is a discrepancy with Tim Miller’s logic at the respect which should be shown to one fandom versus another, Sonic fans voiced their dissent en masse and were taken seriously, whereas Terminator fans were ignored.
*DISCLAIMER* I’m not saying this to nit-pick, I’m not saying this to shame, I’m saying this because, as a long-time fan of this franchise, I have watched studios, directors, writers and actors, come and go, and I have seen this fanbase treated abysmally by corporate entities seeking to reap financial rewards by getting weak-kneed at the sheer possibility of appealing to mainstream movie-going audiences, by creating Terminator movies under a watered-down PG13 rating, by cynically luring fans with nostalgia-bait and homages whilst never really trying to fully understand the source material. By rushing out a slap-dash, half-baked nose-thumbing-at-Ryan-Reynolds – I-pilfered-your-crew-so-there script and production.
This fanbase deserves better than to be shrugged off as misogynistic, toxic or trolling, simply because we voiced concerns or opinions.
Mr. Miller, when you make a blanket statement that stigmatises an entire group of people, fail to clarify that statement and then compound it with comments like “I don’t give a fuck”, you damage your reputation with your prospective customer and you damage your product.
When you wait nearly seven months to expatiate that it was actually a “small minority” who had had a problem with Mackenzie Davis’ appearance – it becomes a case of too little, too late.
The outrage you hoped to create – the sense of “I must watch Dark Fate to prove I am not a woman-hater” you attempted to engender, did not take.
In the end, your movie was bought and sold based on its own merits.
…those numbers speak for themselves.
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