Sarah Connor (Terminator)
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|First appearance||The Terminator (1984)|
|Last appearance||Fortnite Battle Royale (2021)|
|Created by||James Cameron |
Gale Anne Hurd
|Voiced by||Linda Hamilton (Salvation, Gears 5)|
|Significant others||Kyle Reese |
Dieter von Rossbach (T2 novel trilogy)
|Children||John 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
Sarah Connor's age
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. 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. This is further evident as the end-credits state that Sarah was 33 in the opening scene in 1998.
The Terminator (1984)
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 that in the future an artificial intelligence called Skynet will be created by military software developers to make strategic decisions.
The program will become self-aware, seize control of most of the world's military hardware (including highly advanced robots), and launch an all-out attack on human beings. John Connor will eventually lead the remnants of the world's military and survivors, The Resistance, to victory, only to discover Skynet has 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, Kyle tells Sarah that she will be responsible for training John in the skills and tactics he will 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 inspire her to develop the skills and abilities that make her a suitable mentor and teacher to John. After these events, Sarah, pregnant and a fugitive, begins making a voice recording to give to John 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 before sending him back in time.
Judgment Day (1991)
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 a psychiatric ward 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 the criminal psychologist Dr. Silberman does 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 the Model 101 (or T-800) comes to the hospital ward with John, she flees in terror and is almost captured by the hospital staff, but she goes with the android who tells her "come with me if you want to live." They escape in a police car after knocking the driver unconscious. Sarah finds it nearly impossible to accept that 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 that they will need its help.
After having a violent vision about herself and families in a park getting wiped out by Judgment Day, 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 becomes similar to the Terminator itself. However, 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 finally 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.
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.
Rise of the Machines (2003)
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.
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. 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. 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, including its first attempt on killing her in the original timeline's 1984. 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. Unlike her parallel from the original timeline, that being raised by a Terminator, Sarah has extensive knowledge on Skynet. 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 alternate future 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.
Dark Fate (2019)
Hamilton reprises the part of Sarah Connor as the lead character in the 2019 film Terminator: Dark Fate, an alternate sequel to Terminator 2 (resulting in the ignoring the events of Terminator 3 and Terminator Salvation). 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 the Rev-9 in Mexico City. Sarah disables the Rev-9 and rescues Daniella "Dani" Ramos as well as her protector, Grace, an augmented soldier and Dani's adopted daughter from the future. Sarah learns that the Rev-9 has been sent by another A.I., Legion, to kill Dani, as she is destined to lead the human resistance against the Legion's machines following Judgment Day, which Sarah and John merely postponed with Skynet's destruction. 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 completed its primary mission and finding out that Skynet's existence had been erased, it learned from humanity, formed a family and developed a form of conscience, which led it to attempt to make amends with Sarah by sending her the texts so that she could destroy the arriving Terminators and stop their technology being used to rebuild Skynet. This Terminator, now known as Carl, joins them to stop the Rev-9, though Sarah still vows to destroy him after they defeat the Rev-9 for killing John. In a final confrontation in a hydroelectric dam, the Rev-9 is destroyed but Carl and Grace are killed in the process. After Dani vows not to let Grace die again, Sarah vows to prepare her for the coming battle against Legion as she once did with John.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
The Sarah Connor Chronicles character
|First appearance||"Pilot" (2008)|
|Last appearance||"Born to Run" (2009)|
|Created by||Josh Friedman|
|Portrayed by||Lena Headey|
|Significant other||Charley Dixon|
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.
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. In November 2006, it announced that Headey had been chosen to play Sarah. 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. The controversy was covered by the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Herald, The Guardian, and an online fan group.
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".
After a friend recommended English actor Lena Headey for the role, Friedman watched her audition tape and thought she was "a tough, tough woman". Having seen The Terminator when she was a teenager, 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". 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 ..."
In 1999, four years after the events of the second film (Two years in the show's timeline), 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.
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.
The T2 novel trilogy explores Sarah and John's life while living off the grid. The first novel T2: Infiltrator, set six years after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, sees Sarah and 16-year-old John live a relatively normal life under the assumed names John and Suzanne Krieger near a small town in Paraguay, believing they have destroyed Cyberdyne Systems for good and prevented the creation of Skynet. They own a successful trucking company known as Krieger Trucking, while also being proficient smugglers. Sarah works at the company, while John attends military school, quickly becoming one of their best students, gaining military skills, weaponry and hacking knowledge. They gain a new neighbor in Dieter von Rossbach, a former Austrian counterterrorism operative and future model for the T-800 series. He is drawn to the Connors, and 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 Serena Burns. Realizing that Judgment Day was not permanently averted, they attempt once again to stop Skynet's creation with the help of Dieter. They eventually run into FBI agent Jordan Dyson, Miles Dyson's brother who is looking to capture the Connors for his brother's death and Cyberdyne's destruction, but witnesses the Terminators himself and comes to believe them and decides to help them destroy Cyberdyne's most recent facility and the remaining Terminators. Sarah is fatally wounded by Serena as she destroys her, while Dyson looks after her and makes sure she makes a full recovery. John and Dieter flea to Paraguay once again. Dyson, however, finds out that Cyberdyne has a back-up facility located in Montana and immediately informs them of this information.
The following novel, T2: Rising Storm, shows John and Dieter starting up the foundations of the future Resistance a few months after the events of the previous novel. John traces possible recruits all over the internet, while Dieter secures weaponry and supplies to live through the coming Judgment Day. Dieter has been chosen as John's guardian by Sarah while she recovers from her wounds, becoming Sarah's most trusted asset. She is taken back to Pescadero State Hospital and is transferred to a halfway house by Dr. Silberman. After having seen the T-800 and the T-1000 himself seven years previously, Silberman has come to believe Sarah's story. When an undercover Terminator is watching over the recovering Sarah, Silberman helps her flea across the border so she can make it back to Paraguay, making amends for his previous treatment of her. Sarah stays at Dieter's house, while Dieter and John head to Cyberdyne's back-up site in Monatana alongside Wendy Dorset, John's new girlfriend and the Resistance's first recruit. They come to the conclusion that no matter how far Skynet's creation is delayed, it will seemingly always become sentient. John and Wendy design an A.I. virus which prevents it from ever becoming sentient. While Wendy is subdued by Serena Burns' first i-950 clone, Clea Bennet, John mistakenly uploads the wrong program into Skynet's programming and Wendy is killed. A distraught John destroys Clea Bennet alongside Dieter, who end up fleeing the military base. As they head back to Paraguay, John feels like the entire journey was in vain, with he himself being responsible for Skynet's eventual sentience. Meanwhile, Sarah has been attacked by Serena's second clone, Alissa, managing to destroy it and preventing it from succeeding in its mission. Skynet, however, becomes sentient and starts its process of eradicating humanity.
The final novel, T2: The Future War, shows the destruction Skynet causes around the world and its killing of 3 billion lives. Skynet creates machines to track and kill the remaining humans. John has become the leader of the Resistance, with Sarah and Dieter having fallen in love and married. The life between the parents of John's eventual father Kyle Reese is explored, with Kyle being born, being captured by a patrol unit as a child and forced to work in a Skynet work camp. The work camp is liberated by John and his Tech-Com unit, freeing Kyle and the other prisoners, while Kyle's parents are killed. John assigns his friend Jack Brock to protect Kyle, as well as becoming his foster father. He grows up fighting alongside John and his Tech-Com unit. In 2029, as the Resistance is about to destroy Skynet's defence grid, as a last ditch effort in winning the war it sends back a T-800 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, a T-1000 to 1995 to kill a 10-year-old John Connor, and the i-950 unit Serena Burns to 2001 to kill the Connors and ensure Skynet's creation. Once John finds out about this, he sends the volunteering Kyle back to protect Sarah from the T-800 and a reprogrammed T-800 to protect his younger self from the T-1000. Afterwards, Skynet is effectively destroyed and John is greeted by Sarah, Dieter and the remaining Resistance members as they are relieved that the great ordeal is finally over.
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. After Superman is drawn into the future by the resistance when they attempted to retrieve a Terminator sent back after John, Skynet is destroyed when Superman detonates an EMP in Earth's atmosphere, using a shielded time machine to return to the past.
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