Sarah Connor (Terminator)

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Sarah Connor
Terminator character
Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton).jpg
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
First appearanceThe Terminator (1984)
Last appearanceTerminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Created byJames Cameron
Portrayed by
    • Young:
    • Willa Taylor (Genisys)
Voiced byLinda Hamilton (Salvation & Gears 5)
In-universe information
SpousesKyle Reese
Dieter von Rossbach (T2 novel trilogy)
ChildrenJohn Connor (son)

Sarah Connor is a fictional character in the Terminator franchise. She is one of the protagonists of The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator Genisys (2015) and Terminator: Dark Fate (2019), as well as the television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009). The character develops from a timid damsel in distress victim in the first film to a wanted fugitive committing acts of terrorism, a hardened warrior and mother who sacrificed everything for her son's future and is on the verge of losing touch with her own humanity, and a mentor preparing and protecting a protégée for her destiny. In another timeline, depicted in Terminator Genisys, she is a young, headstrong heroine determined to take control of her own destiny.

Sarah was portrayed by Linda Hamilton in The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, T2-3D: Battle Across Time, Terminator Salvation (voice only), and Terminator: Dark Fate; she was additionally portrayed by Emilia Clarke, Willa Taylor as a younger Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys and by Lena Headey in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Terminator film series[edit]

Sarah Connor's age[edit]

The Terminator does not specify Sarah Connor's age or birth date, although according to the original script (available on the Special Edition DVD), she was 19 years old.[citation needed] The film is set in May 1984.

In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah's psychologist states she is 29. However, her tombstone shown in Terminator 3 reads 1959–1997, which would make her several years older than what was previously established in the earlier films. In Terminator Genisys, Sarah was nine in 1973, placing her birth in 1963 or 1964, consistent with the original films.

In Terminator: Dark Fate, the film is set twenty-five years after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, making Sarah 55 years old by the time of its events.

The Terminator[edit]

In The Terminator, Sarah Connor is a Los Angeles college student and waitress who is pursued by a relentless android killer, the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). She learns she is in danger from a televised report of two identically-named Los Angeles women who were shot to death earlier that day. She is rescued from the Terminator by time-travelling soldier Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), who says in the future an artificial intelligence called Skynet will be created by military software developers to make strategic decisions.

The program becomes self-aware, seizes control of most of the world's military hardware (including highly advanced robots), and launches an all-out attack on human beings. John Connor eventually leads the remnants of the world's military and survivors, The Resistance, to victory, only to discover Skynet had invented a means of time travel and sent an android killer back in time to destroy John Connor's mother before he is born. John Connor is Sarah's future son; he sends back a trusted sergeant, Kyle Reese, to protect his mother. During their brief time together, Sarah falls in love with Kyle, who tells Sarah she would be responsible for training John in the skills and tactics he would use to fight Skynet.

Kyle protects Sarah from the Terminator and they flee together. Initially, she is unaware that Reese has been in love with her. While they are avoiding the Terminator, Sarah grows to reciprocate his feelings, and they consummate their relationship, resulting in John's conception. Kyle dies fighting the Terminator in a factory. Sarah crushes the Terminator in a hydraulic press. Kyle's sincerity and courage inspires her to develop the skills and abilities that make her a suitable mentor and teacher to John. After these events, Sarah becomes pregnant and a fugitive and begins making a voice recording for John to give to him later in life. While recording the tape, a boy takes a photograph that he sells to her; John will give this to Kyle in the future.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day[edit]

In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah and her son John (Edward Furlong) have been separated; John is now ten years old and living in a foster home with Todd and Janelle Voight, and Sarah has been institutionalized. In the years since the previous film, she has become a muscled, ferocious warrior. After the death of Kyle Reese, Sarah takes his warnings and the responsibility of raising her son to heart. Her fixation on the disaster and her fanatical desire to keep John safe has made her mentally unstable and very violent, which is aggravated by her fear and hatred of the Model 101. She lives off-grid to protect herself and John. Sarah lived as an outlaw and tried to teach her son the skills he would need to lead the resistance. She is captured and sent to the institution after trying to blow up a computer factory. Several times at the hospital, she has tried to improve her behavior in hope of getting to see her son, but her caregivers do not believe her. Her activities and claims of fighting evil robots from the future led to her being deemed incurable.

Sarah only seemed to confirm the judgment of psychiatrists by committing acts of violence against hospital staff. She tries to escape multiple times; during her final escape attempt, Sarah encounters two Terminator models; the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), a liquid metal android sent back to kill her son; and the Model 101 (Schwarzenegger) that was sent back by John's future self (Michael Edwards) to protect them. When she initially encounters the Model 101, she flees in terror and is almost captured by the hospital staff, but she goes with the android. They escape in a police car after knocking the driver unconscious. Sarah finds it nearly impossible to accept the Model 101 is benevolent; throughout the film she remains hostile towards it. John develops a bond with it, resembling a father-son relationship. In the director's cut of the movie, Sarah has an opportunity to destroy the machine's CPU. She nearly does so but John persuades her they need its help.[1] Sarah later loses her hostility towards the machine.

After having a nightmare about Judgment Day occurring, Sarah tries to murder Miles Dyson (Joe Morton), a computer researcher who works at Cyberdyne Systems and is destined to build the microprocessor that will become Skynet. In doing this, she loses touch with her humanity, becoming similar to the Terminator itself. She finds she cannot kill Dyson in front of his family. Shortly afterwards, John and the Model 101 arrive; they and Sarah persuade Dyson to stop his research and destroy all recovered remnants of the first Terminator. After the T-1000 is defeated, the Model 101 lets itself be destroyed with the help of Sarah despite John's protests. Sarah gains respect for the Model 101 and offers her hand in friendship before its final sacrifice. Because of this event, Sarah looks to the future with renewed hope.

Alternate ending[edit]

The alternate ending for Terminator 2: Judgment Day, available on the Ultimate Edition DVD and the Skynet Edition Blu-ray, shows Sarah alive and well 30 years after the primary events of the film. She is an elderly grandmother and John is a Senator in a world in which Skynet was never able to start its war on humanity.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines[edit]

In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Sarah Connor has died from leukemia in 1997 after a three-year battle with the disease. She is mentioned by John (Nick Stahl) and the T-101 (Schwarzenegger). She lived long enough to see the 1997 "Judgment Day" pass without incident, and was cremated in Mexico where her ashes were spread out to the sea. Never truly believing they had beaten Skynet, her friends stored a cache of weapons in a casket for John to find in the event that Judgment Day was not averted and the Terminators returned, in accordance with her will.

Terminator Salvation[edit]

Linda Hamilton reprised her role as Sarah Connor in voiceovers warning of the future war, in the form of taped recordings for John (Christian Bale) delivered throughout Terminator Salvation.[2]

Terminator Genisys[edit]

In Terminator Genisys, Sarah is portrayed by Emilia Clarke. Willa Taylor, the daughter of the film's director Alan Taylor, has a brief role as Sarah's nine-year-old self. The story takes place in an alternate reality to the continuity of the first four films due to Skynet's (Matt Smith) actions throughout the timeline.[citation needed] Therefore, Clarke's Sarah is an alternate timeline variant of her counterpart portrayed by Hamilton.

In the film, Skynet had sent a T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun) to an earlier point in Sarah's life, in 1973, to kill her. Sarah is nine when her parents are killed by it during camping at Big Bear Lake. Sarah is found and raised by a reprogrammed T-800 (Schwarzenegger) sent by an unknown party to be her guardian after her escape. These events result in an altered timeline that erases the events of the earlier films.[3] Clarke's Sarah integrates elements of both Hamilton's portrayal and Furlong's portrayal of John in Terminator 2: Judgment Day; young Sarah teaches the android, which she calls "Pops", how to be more human and forms an emotional bond with the T-800, regarding it as a surrogate father after her parents' deaths.

After the T-1000's attack in 1973, Sarah learns from Pops of her assailant's motive, her destiny as John Connor's (Jason Clarke) future mother, and the Resistance's war against Skynet. Over the next decade, Pops trains Sarah to handle weapons and prepare for her destiny. However, Sarah despises her destiny and wants the ability to choose how to live her life. Because she was trained in combat since childhood, Sarah is not helpless by the time Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) arrives to protect her in 1984. In addition, she is headstrong, assertive, and audacious. She is not dependent upon Kyle Reese, but rather is fighting alongside with him. Sarah initially resents her relationship with Kyle being dictated by fate, but she gradually falls in love with him. Sarah plans to time travel and destroy Skynet to prevent Judgment Day.

Discovering the date of Skynet's initial attack has changed from 1997 to 2017, Sarah and Kyle travel 33 years into the future to stop Skynet and their son John Connor, who had been compromised by Skynet and was changed into a cyborg known as the T-3000. After John's defeat and the prevention of Skynet from spreading to computer servers worldwide, Sarah, Kyle and Pops prepare to face an unknown future, unaware that Skynet is now self-aware in Cyberdyne's underground facility.

Terminator: Dark Fate[edit]

Hamilton reprises the part of Sarah Connor as the lead character in the 2019 film Terminator: Dark Fate, a direct sequel to Terminator 2. In this timeline, the rise of Skynet is averted, but it dispatched various other Terminators into the past prior to its erasure from history, with the result that John was killed by another T-800 in Guatemala in 1998. Grieving and bitter, Sarah succumbs to alcoholism, and spends the intervening decades hunting down other Terminators based on anonymous texts sent by an unknown figure that direct her to the time and place that they will arrive, allowing her to eliminate them before they can pose a threat. In 2020, the latest such message eventually leads her to Daniella "Dani" Ramos, who is destined to lead the Resistance in John's place after a new A.I. known as Legion arises. In the present, Dani is pursued by a Rev-9 Terminator, and she is protected by Grace, a cybernetically enhanced soldier sent from the future. While Sarah is pleased to learn that she succeeded in destroying Skynet, she is discontented to learn of Legion's creation. GPS coordinates tattooed onto Grace are revealed to match the source of Sarah's texts, with the group's efforts to track this source revealing that it is the T-800 that killed John. Having formed a family and developed a form of conscience after it completed its original mission, this Terminator- now known as 'Carl'- joins them to stop the Rev-9. In a final confrontation in a hydroelectric dam, Rev-9 is destroyed but Carl and Grace are killed in the process. Dani vows to not let Grace die again, to which Sarah replies that she needs to be ready; her purpose to prepare and protect the Resistance leader is renewed.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles[edit]

Sarah Connor
The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Sarah Connor (Lena Headey).jpg
First appearance"Pilot" (2008)
Last appearance"Born to Run" (2009)
Created byJames Cameron
Josh Friedman
Portrayed byLena Headey
In-universe information
AliasesSarah Baum
Sarah Reese
Sarah Gale
Significant othersKyle Reese
Charley Dixon
ChildrenJohn Connor (son)

In the television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, an alternate sequel to the first two films, Lena Headey portrays Sarah Connor. This version of Sarah is an alternate future version of her film series counterpart; her appearances in the first two Terminator films are considered part of this continuity.

Production background[edit]

In November 2005, 20th Century Fox announced that it would produce a television series called Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles featuring the adventures of the title character and her son in the years after Terminator 2: Judgment Day.[4] In November 2006, it announced that Headey had been chosen to play Sarah.[5] The choice of Headey was criticized by several fans and critics, who said she bore no resemblance to the athletic, muscular character portrayed by Hamilton.[6] The controversy was covered by the Los Angeles Times,[6] The Boston Herald,[7] The Guardian,[7] and an online fan group.[7]

Series creator Josh Friedman auditioned over 300 actress for the role; he said he was looking for was someone "who embodied that spirit and who was believable in that role and not just some glammed up, Hollywood, actressy thing".[8]

After a friend recommended English actor Lena Headey for the role, Friedman watched her audition tape and thought she was "a tough, tough woman".[8] Having seen The Terminator when she was a teenager,[9] Headey was aware of the iconic status of the character; she said, "Linda Hamilton will always be the original Sarah Connor and it's a very strong print that she's left, but hopefully people will embrace what I bring to Sarah and see it with fresh eyes".[10] When asked about her approach to the role, Headey said, "I'm playing a mother who is a single parent, bringing up a teenage son, who also happens to save the world—as a byline to her life. And the way I would play that is someone who's passionate and scared and angry and a mother, all these things. So I approach that just trying to be honest within the boundaries of her ..."[11]

First season[edit]

In 1999, four years after the events of the second film, Sarah and John Connor are living undercover after being blamed for the murder of Miles Dyson and is engaged to paramedic Charley Dixon. Fearing discovery and the certainty of a stable life, they flee again. On his first day in his new school, John is attacked by a T-888 Terminator posing as a substitute teacher called Cromartie. He escapes with the help of Cameron Phillips, a Terminator that resembles a teenage girl, sent back in time by the future John to protect him. Sarah hears of the shooting and rushes to the school but is captured by Cromartie, who uses her to lure John into a trap. Again with the help of Cameron, they flee to a bank where resistance members have hidden the parts of a time machine. As Cromartie attacks them, the trio disappear into the year 2007.

Cameron suggests to Sarah their primary mission should be to stop Skynet, estimated to go online in 2011. Sarah argues against this, but Cameron tells her she would have died from cancer in 2005. The three characters try to evade discovery and find the origins of Skynet. In the third episode of the series, Sarah seeks to avoid getting cancer; she trains her body and takes vitamins and medications.

Sarah's relationship with Cameron has been repeatedly antagonistic and they share a mutual distrust. As Sarah attempts to teach Cameron the value of a human life, Cameron argues the importance of their mission to thwart Skynet's creation even if killing is necessary. During battles with Terminators programmed to kill the Connors, Sarah and Cameron often find themselves working together. Also, since Cameron is the only other person who knows of her cancer situation, Sarah often approaches her for advice in the matter.

In the episode "Queen's Gambit", she discovers that her dead lover Kyle Reese has a brother named Derek, who is also a time-travelling Resistance agent. She hopes to save Derek from being killed by androids. Sarah tells John about his true identity and he seeks help from her former fiancé Charley Dixon to save his uncle's life. Despite her knowledge of his connection to Kyle, Sarah continues to distrust Derek because she is aware that he killed Andrew "Andy" Goode, one of the creators of Skynet. Despite their mutual distrust, there is some attraction between them.

Second season[edit]

In the second season, Sarah worries about contracting and dying of cancer. She meets John's new friend Riley Dawson, and is concerned their friendship risks the family's safety from Skynet and Riley's safety. Sarah and Derek help Charley rescue his wife from Cromartie, but she dies in a bomb explosion. Sarah shelters a young boy named Marty Bedell who is being hunted by a T-888 because he shares his name with a future high-ranking member of the human resistance. An attack from Margos Sarkissian leaves John traumatized. Sarah takes the blame of Sarkissian's death for John, which Derek and Cameron later discover when John and Sarah argue. their relationship changes; John cannot let go of his guilt for killing Sarkissian; Sarah realizes that she cannot always protect her son. She seeks counseling from family psychiatrist Boyd Sherman but discovers his role in Skynet's future.

Sarah is kidnapped by Cromartie, but she is rescued by John and James Ellison, an FBI agent who was earlier determined to bring her to justice. Along with Derek and Cameron, they plan to lure Cromartie into a nearby church; they kill and bury it and plan to destroy it later. Sarah smashes its CPU; her stress after the battle results in nightmares and sleepwalking. She visits Dr. Sherman again but is unable to be honest with him. Sarah remembers seeing a three-dotted symbol in her dreams. She has seen this before; it was left by a dying Resistance soldier in her basement. Her obsession with the symbol leads her to Dakara Systems, a technology company whose logo includes it. There, Alexander Agagi II is developing an artificial intelligence program named "Emma". Realizing she has been chasing the wrong lead, Sarah's stress becomes uncontrollable and she smashes mirrors in her bathroom. Derek thinks Sarah is losing her sanity.

At a UFO convention, which Sarah attends to investigate the three-dotted sign, she meets a woman named Eileen, who is really Alan Park, a scientist who specialized in Light Detection and Ranging. Fearing for his life he underwent sex reassignment surgery. He thinks he is being targeted by his former employer, and that drone sightings in the Mojave Desert are a government conspiracy. Sarah takes him to a hypnotherapist named Dr. Barbara Morris, to unravel his memories to reveal the location of the facility. An assassin arrives during the session and murders Morris and Park. Sarah has recorded the session; Park's clues lead her to a warehouse. As she entered the building, she fights and apparently kills a man named Ed Winston, who has wounded her leg. Inside the warehouse, she sees three bright dots in the sky; they are hauls of a Hunter-Killer craft from the future. She kidnaps and forces a doctor to remove the bullet from her leg, and then tells Derek to destroy the evidence of her hospitalization to prevent the authorities and the machines from learning her identity and tracking her. After Derek finds her, Sarah decides to tell him about his relation to John, but he already knows. The family arrives at a company town, Charm Acres, looking for survivors of the warehouse explosion. At the end of their search, Sarah, John, Derek and Cameron see the Hunter-Killer drone.

Ed Winston has survived being shot by Sarah. Following a lead from Charm Acres, Sarah visits the factory where Winston kidnapped her and subjected her to hallucinogenic drugs to find out why she bombed the factory and the identities of her accomplices. After enduring Winston's physical and psychological torments, Sarah breaks free and attacks and shoots him in the head, killing him. She is arrested by the police, beaten up and taken to jail.

Sarah is rescued from jail by John and Cameron; she accompanies them to go see the T-1001 impersonating Catherine Weaver, where it is suggested that she is building something like Skynet, hoping to defeat it. Before Sarah can find out more, the prototype Hunter-Killer assaults the building and the group escape. In the building's basement Cameron gives her A.I. chip to Weaver's creation, which is now stored in the exhumed body of Cromartie, who takes it into the future. John finds Cameron's empty shell lying in the basement and a repeating message on the computer monitors reading, "I'm sorry, John". John discovers he cannot let her go. In an attempt to save both Cameron and Weaver's creation, both John and Catherine go to the future after the Cromartie shell, while Sarah remains in the present to continue the fight.


Linda Hamilton briefly reprised her role for T2-3D: Battle Across Time, a 1996 theme park attraction for Universal Studios. In the attraction, set after the events of the second film, Sarah and John break into Cyberdyne Systems to prevent the creation of Skynet, but they are stopped by a T-1000. John and a T-800 later travel to the future, where they succeed in destroying Skynet, and John returns to the present to reunite with Sarah.


In the T2 novels, Sarah is living in Paraguay under the assumed name Suzanne Krieger (the German word for "warrior"); she and John are hiding as fugitives from the U.S. government. Dieter von Rossbach, a former Austrian counter-terrorism operative and model for the Terminator, moves into the neighboring home. He is drawn to the Connors; after Sarah tells him about the future war, they are attacked by a new T-800 created in the present by a new Terminator model, the I-950 Infiltrator. Realizing Judgment Day has not been averted, they once again try to stop Skynet's creation.

Sarah Connor appeared in the non-canonical Superman crossover Superman vs. The Terminator: Death to the Future (2000). In the story, Sarah and John Connor join forces with Superman to destroy Skynet and Superman's robotic enemy the Cyborg Superman. In the past, John and Sarah receive assistance from Supergirl (Matrix), Superboy and Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor. Skynet is destroyed when Superman detonates an EMP in Earth's atmosphere.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Terminator 2: Judgment Day transcript
  2. ^ Meredith Woerner (January 15, 2009). "Sarah Connor Will Haunt Terminator Salvation". io9. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  3. ^ Sperling, Nicole. "This week's cover: First look at 'Terminator: Genisys'". Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved Oct 29, 2014.
  4. ^ "The Terminator Franchise Rises Again". Variety. November 10, 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-16.
  5. ^ "Headey lands 'Connor' role". Variety. November 7, 2006.
  6. ^ a b Collins, Scott (January 11, 2008). "New Sarah Connor needs thick skin". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2008-03-30. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  7. ^ a b c Smith, David (January 20, 2008). "Weedy action heroine under fire". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2008-01-20. Fans and feminists criticize a British actress for having the wrong physique to play the star role in American TV's hit Terminator spin-off
  8. ^ a b Goldman, Eric (June 22, 2007). "Guiding the Sarah Connor Chronicles". Retrieved 2007-06-22.
  9. ^ Svetkey, Benjamin (January 11, 2008). "'Sarah Connor Chronicles': 'T3' Rebooted". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  10. ^ Rogers, Troy (2008). "nside The Sarah Connor Chronicles with Lena Headey and James Middleton". Retrieved 2008-09-13.
  11. ^ "Lena Headey: Sarah Connor Laid To Rest". April 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-08.