John Connor and Kyle Reese were both imprisoned in a work camp located in San Francisco. On the brink of extinction, John Connor united the despairing humans and taught them to fight, storm the camps and overcome the Terminator guards. Much of the Resistance was created from these survivors.
John Connor lead the human Resistances to the victory in the War against the Machines in the year 2029. In order to eliminate John Connor, Skynet sent a Series 800 Terminator and a Series 1000 Terminator to the past to kill John's mother, Sarah, and young John Connor respectively via Time Displacement Equipment. Thus, John sends Kyle Reese, a young soldier, and a reprogrammed Series 800 Terminator to the past to protect Sarah Connor and young John Connor respectively.
Early life (1985–1995)
John Connor was born to Sarah Connor on February 28, 1985 (Terminator 2: Judgment Day). His father, Kyle Reese, had been killed nine months prior in May 1984, protecting Connor from a time-traveling Terminator (The Terminator). John's early life was filled with training by various persons his mother Sarah had met as the two lived off the grid after the attempt on her life by the Terminator. Much of his training concentrated on the areas of weaponry, computer technology, and espionage.
When Sarah Connor was shot and captured after trying to blow up a computer factory in the early 1990s, John was placed into foster care and told that his mother's stories of the future were merely delusions. He was unable to cope with life in suburbia and rebelled, edging towards delinquency, turning into a young gangster and receiving a police record (which included trespassing, shoplifting, disturbing the peace, and vandalism) by the time he was 10 years old. His foster parents, Todd and Janelle Voight, found themselves unable to deal with him, and were not surprised when a police officer showed up at their door asking to speak with John.
John's life was changed in a matter of seconds, when a T-1000 came back from the year 2029, programmed to assassinate him. A T-800 (whom John later nicknamed "Uncle Bob") had also come back in time, this one programmed to protect him. John, now believing his mother's stories, used the protecting T-800 to release his mother from the maximum security prison Pescadero State Hospital. The three then proceeded to seek out Miles Dyson, the would-be creator of the neural-net processor, in an attempt to stop Judgment Day from occurring. During their time together John bonds with the T-800, who becomes a friend and father figure to him. Once the T-1000 is destroyed along with all of Cyberdyne's research, the T-800 asks that it be destroyed also so that its technology would not be discovered and used by others.
Because Sarah, John, and the T-800 successfully destroyed the laboratory of Cyberdyne Systems, Skynet is never created and Judgment Day never occurs. In the year 2027, John Connor is a U.S. Senator and has a child.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
The Assassination of John Connor (2032)
At an unknown date during the war, Skynet decided to try a new tactic to remove the leader of the resistance. Knowing the familiarity that Connor had with the T-800 unit, Skynet sent a T-850 that physically resembled the old model out to the human resistance bases where it eventually found John. His judgment clouded by memories of past experiences, he allowed the Terminator close, where it promptly killed him. This event occurs on July 4, 2032. However the fact Skynet sent back the T-X implies John's death came too late to alter the course of the war.
The Terminator was eventually reprogrammed by Connor's wife to serve as a protector once again. This Terminator was once more sent back in time to protect John, only this time not under his direct command, but Kate Brewster's. This leads into the events of Terminator 3, during which the T-850 reveals to Connor the date and circumstances of his future death. It is possible that, having learned of his fate, John would be able to avoid his death in the future, capture the T-850 and send it back himself. This leaves the true fate of John Connor open to speculation.
Drifter Years (1995–2004)
Having survived the assassination attempts of the T-1000, John Connor again dropped off the grid, living as unobtrusively as possible. His mother Sarah died in 1997, having lived past the supposed date that Judgment Day would have taken place, after she fought with her terminal leukemia disease for three years, to make sure the world did not end. He took up various odd jobs to pay his way and convinced himself that the actions he and Sarah had taken had prevented Judgment Day from happening.
In 2004, however, John was once again thrown back into the turmoil of his still unresolved future. Skynet had once again sent a Terminator back in time to try and finish him off. This new series, the T-X, was an improvement over the older Series 1000 Terminator, capable of creating mechanical parts, such as flamethrowers, plasma cannon, or saw blades, as opposed to simple stabbing weapons. A T-850 unit was sent back once again to protect John from this new weapon, but there was an unforeseen event surrounding its arrival.
Second Judgment Day (2004)
John Connor and the newly reprogrammed T-850 were once again faced with a familiar situation. With a newer, highly advanced Terminator after him, Connor had to round up as many future generals as he could before Judgment Day occurred.
There is some confusion over these events though, as John thought that Judgment Day was stopped in 1995. Though it was delayed by the events surrounding the destruction of Cyberdyne, the T-850 revealed to him that Judgment Day was inevitable, and that the previous actions only postponed it.
Connor and Kate tried to reach Kate's father, Robert Brewster, who has been ordered to activate Skynet, a new software program that was designed to "protect" the American military computer systems, which were currently under attack from a very insidious virus that had been attacking civilian and other non-military government computer systems. What Brewster and the other generals didn't know was the Skynet was the virus. Once activated, Skynet took over all military systems, including those connected to the nuclear ballistic missile defense system. Connor and Kate obtained the access codes to Crystal Peak, where Brewster had said was the location of Skynet's core systems.
The Terminator was successful in keeping the T-X from killing the pair, who were set to destroy Crystal Peak with C4 plastic explosives. However as Skynet went online and became self-aware, it perceived humanity to be a threat and launched nuclear warheads at other countries. They responded in kind and the nuclear holocaust of Judgment Day began. Connor and Kate survived because Crystal Peak was instead an abandoned military fallout shelter and General Brewster had sent them there to survive when he realized what was happening. As the military watch officers at other areas saw "their" systems turning against them, they desperately called out over the emergency radios for guidance. John Connor answered the call and started to build the resistance from there.
A new beginning of the future (2004-2018)
Several years into the war, John Connor has risen to leadership of his own squad of soldiers within the resistance known as TechCom and served under the direction of General Olsen. He was a member of a mission to infiltrate Skynet VLA in order to obtain classified data vital to the machines and to rescue the prisoners there. Connor would leave after having infiltrated the base to try to rescue several prisoners being taken by a Skynet transport. This would be his salvation as the base exploded moments after he left due to a Skynet booby trap. He got picked up a short time afterward and requested to be taken to Resistance Headquarters. After arrival, he was denied entry, but forced his way in. While in the headquarter, he met with General Ashdown and told him what he'd found and that Skynet was more advanced than they should be. Ashdown, who was familiar with Connor's history, told him that he didn't believe it for a second and that destiny could be changed in a second. He then revealed that the Resistance would be testing a new weapon against the machines designed to end the war. Connor volunteered for the mission to test it and soon learned that he was the second target on Skynet's hit list, Kyle Reese was the priority target. Concerned for his father's safety, Connor persevered and buried himself in his work including his nightly broadcasts to the survivors. He and his team captured a Hydrobot and confirmed that the weapon worked against Skynet. Not long afterward they would test it on a larger target.
Around the same time Connor noted increased Skynet activity and ordered his pilot, Blair Williams, to investigate. Days later Williams and a guest named Marcus Wright arrived at the base; however, Marcus wasn't what he seemed. Connor was called to a secured room inside the base where he saw a new kind of Terminator that neither he nor his mother had encountered previously, it was different to the T-800 as not only did it have living tissue like the T-800, but it also had organs, thinking itself was human. The Series 800 was just living tissue over metal endoskeleton without any organ and know itself is just a machine. It was also too early for a Series 800 let alone an even more advanced model, meaning that the process had somehow been sped up. Connor and Wright faced off talking about how he was a machine and that he was sent there to destroy. Connor eventually left to consider what to do next and prepared for the world wide assault on Skynet, but Williams was already working to release Wright from captivity.
Connor personally led the mission to recapture Wright. From a helicopter, Connor led the attack upon Wright. His pilot, nevertheless, miscalculated their position and got attacked by a series of Hydrobots. Connor was rescued by Marcus and the two came to an agreement — Wright would help them to infiltrate and rescue the captured Kyle Reese from Skynet Central. Connor agreed and let Marcus go. He urged General Ashdown to reconsider the attack, but the Resistance's leader would not agree and ordered Connor removed from command of his base. Instead, Connor made a final impassioned plea to his fellow Resistance leaders to halt the attack and turn against General Ashdown, so that he could rescue the prisoners. This led to Connor becoming the prophesied leader of the Resistance against Skynet. Not long after, he would capture and reprogram a Moto-Terminator to allow faster transport to San Francisco's Skynet Central.
Upon arrival at the ruin of the Golden Gate Bridge, Connor watched and waited for the agreed upon signal from Marcus. When the signal came — the location of Reese, Connor infiltrated the city and reprogrammed several of the lesser machines. He then accessed Skynet Central and begin his search for Kyle. He released the cages holding the human prisoners and, believing he found the teen, was attacked by a T-RIP. Connor was able to break away by blowing a hole into the floor of the facility which the machine fell through and continued after Kyle. He soon found him at an execution chamber, but there was no time to relax as the T-RIP was already coming.
After several quick actions, the humans managed to reach a Terminator Factory beneath the base where they were able to build explosives utilizing the power cells of the Terminators under construction. Connor and Reese worked together to build explosives when the machine attacked Connor. Reese helped Connor by firing a rocket propelled grenade at the T-RIP and temporarily disabling it long enough for Connor to break free. They began to fight hand to hand and the machine was about to kill the leader of the Resistance when Marcus Wright engaged the Terminator in hand to hand combat to provide a diversion. The machine would make quick work of Marcus and continue after Connor, using the voice of Kyle Reese to distract him.
The machine was temporarily disabled by John Connor a short time afterward. Connor fired a grenade causing molten steel to cover the machine followed by a similar attack to a container of industrial coolant. Connor then proceeded to revive Marcus via CPR by pounding on his chest, which was unsuccessful, so he pulled two power cords from a nearby assembly robot arm, and used those as an Defibrillation on Marcus' chest. After Marcus was revived, the T-RIP broke free of the steel that was covering it, and impaled Connor in the heart. Immediately, Marcus knocked the machine's skull assembly off of the machine's body. With the machine destroyed Marcus turns his attention toward helping Connor up, who now acknowledges him as a friend. When the Resistance arrived, Connor and the rest of the group boarded the helicopter, which was flown straight to the main headquarters for immediate medical attention for Connor, as he detonates the building and everything around it while flying back. With Connor on the verge of death, Marcus tells everyone that he willingly wants to transplant his heart to Connor, which is successful. Later, Connor gives one more daily announcement telling everyone that the battle has been won, but the war is still on. It was implied that Connor had become the leader of the Resistance afterward.
Behind the Scenes
- In Terminator 2, the young John Connor was portrayed by Edward Furlong, while the older version was portrayed by Michael Edwards. Dalton Abbott, who is Sarah Connor actress Linda Hamilton's real-life son, played an infant John in a flashback scene.
- In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, John was portrayed by Nick Stahl. Unlike in T2, the same actor portrays John as a young man and as his older self.
- Thomas Dekker portrays John in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, with John DeVito playing an even younger John on the show.
- Christian Bale portrays the 33 year old John Connor who in this timeline is not the leader of the Resistance but is the Captain of Tech-Com unit with General Ashdown as the main Leader of the Resistance in the film Terminator Salvation.
- Though John's eye color is green, his eye color in Terminator Salvation is brown, Bale's eye color.
- John Connor has been portrayed by more actors than any other character in sci-fi film and television history (7 actors); with the exception of James Bond (7 actors) and the Doctor of Doctor Who (34 actors, though only twelve are official Doctors).
- Promotional photos of the Playmates Toys action figure line mistakenly list the character as John Conner.
- John's future self in Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was shown to have a scar on his face. How he got the scar was shown in Terminator Salvation timeline in the battle against the T-800 Prototype.
- Jason Clarke will be portraying John in the upcoming Terminator: Genesis.
- John Connor will meet Thomas, Twilight, Brian, and their friends in Thomas and Twilight Sparkle's Adventures of Terminator 2: Judgment Day and see them again in Thomas and Twilight Sparkle's Adventures of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.