In Terminator Salvation, John Connor finally takes his place as the leader of the Resistance. But as Skynet’s army of Terminators takes over the world, can Connor save humanity?
The year is 2018 and Judgment Day has come and gone, leveling modern civilization. An army of Terminators roams the post-apocalyptic landscape, killing or collecting humans where they hide in the desolate cities and deserts. But small groups of survivors have organized into a Resistance, hiding in underground bunkers and striking against the enemy force that outnumbers them.
Controlling the army of Terminators is the artificial intelligence network Skynet, which became self-aware 14 years earlier, turning on its creators, Cyberdyne Systems, so it could unleash nuclear annihilation on an unsuspecting world—with the exception of John Connor (Christian Bale) and his mother, Sarah Connor, and father, Kyle Reese, who fought hard for years to warn humanity about this war. No one believed them.
“We’re telling the story of the world after Judgment Day,” says McG, the film’s director. “This is the story of the becoming of John Connor, the becoming of Kyle Reese, the strengthening of Skynet, and where our humanity ultimately lies. This is the moment when mankind takes a stand against the machines.”
With the future he has been warned about all his life now into being, Connor remains unsure that he can do anything to stop it. “He’s definitely a guy with a lot of issues, somebody who has been told the future all his life and bears the burden of that knowledge,” says Bale. “But his mother also told him there is no fate but what you make, so knowing that, he can’t just go hide and think everything’s going to be fine. He’s got to be out there fighting. And he is a fighter. I saw him [as] very much like an Achilles-type character. He’s somebody who loves the fray. But he’s battling with what soldiers deal with every day—the loss of very good friends—and his fears that he is not the leader that people are probably expecting at that point.”
But while Connor’s belief that the war can be won is shaken, his faith is renewed with the appearance of a mysterious man, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger from the past whose last memory is of being on death row before awakening in this strange new world.
Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future or rescued from the past, and in this time-warped world, who can be trusted? But as Skynet adapts new strategies to end the Resistance forever, Connor and Marcus must find common ground to take a stand against the onslaught—and what better way to fight an army of machines than to face them head-on?