LOS ANGELES-James Cameron understands better than anyone that revisiting the past to alter the course of history is a dicey proposition at best, but that hasn’t stopped the Hollywood titan from taking on his latest cinematic mission: returning to The Terminator franchise that gave him the first signature success of his history-making career.

“It’s special,” Cameron said of the Terminator success that propelled him toward ever-grander spectacle projects like Aliens, The Abyss, Titanic, and Avatar. Sci-fi’s greatest showman moved on from his Skynet series in 1991, but now he’s reunited with his first great cinematic brand through Terminator: Dark Fate, the Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures release that hits theatres November 1.

Cameron is joined by the franchise’s two signature stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, as well as Edward Furlong, who was a child actor when he portrayed John Connor 28 years ago in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Cameron said “hasta la vista” to the franchise after the mega-success of T2 and turned his attention to a different Schwarzenegger collaboration (True Lies in 1994), but the filmmaker’s sleek cinematic contraption continued on its metallic march without its creator, adding three feature films of increasing suspect achievement: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003, Terminator: Salvation in 2009 and Terminator Genisys in 2017.

That trio of films may have been forgettable since their release but their status will be downgraded to officially obsolete when Dark Fate opens the day after Halloween. That’s because the time-travel aspects of the new story have been used to effectively erase the events depicted in the three previous instalments.

Cameron said that approach was part of Skydance boss David Ellison’s pitch to bring the creator of John Connor, Skynet and the T-800 Terminator back into the fold by pruning back the mythology. (A similar tactic was used by Paramount’s most successful sci-fi brand, Star Trek, when the 2009 film used time travel as both a plot device and as a fresh-start opportunity for canon clutter.)