Christian Bale as John Connor

During the war in 2018 and the events of "Terminator Salvation", Connor is not yet the leader of the resistance, and must cope with the arrival of the mysterious Marcus Wright and the changes to the future he was not prepared for.

He also must rescue his future father Kyle Reese before Skynet kills him. John's is also expecting his first child with Kate, who he married after the event of the third film.

Director McG deemed Bale "the most credible action star in the world" during development. McG wanted Bale for Marcus, but the actor even though he "can't really remember why" wanted to play John, and that led to the character's role getting expanded in rewrites of the script.

Bale was the first person to be cast and signed on for the role in November 2007. McG talked extensively with Bale in the UK about the role while the latter was filming The Dark Knight, and they both agreed to proceed.

Although a fan of the Terminator series, he was at first uninterested until McG convinced him the story would be character-based and not rely on special effects. They kept working on the story every day, along with Worthington.

McG said Bale broke his hand punching a Terminator prop during filming. Bale also spent six to eight hours each day with McG in the editing room to advise the finished product.

Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright

A human resistance soldier who is plagued with vague memories and is discovered to be a decommissioned Terminator. His last memory is of being on death row, and Connor is unsure of whether Wright is from the past or from the future.

Worthington compared Marcus to Dorothy Gale and Alice due to being "this person waking up in another world [who then] tries to find himself". Terminator creator James Cameron personally recommended Worthington (whom he directed in Avatar) to McG. Russell Crowe also recommended him to McG.

The director decided Worthington looked tougher than the "great many of today's [waify] young male actors". Worthington recalled Cameron told him "the Terminator to make is the one with the war".

Worthington tore his intercostal muscles during the first weeks of filming, but nevertheless insisted on performing his own stunts. McG once expressed interest in casting Christian Bale, Daniel Day-Lewis or Josh Brolin in the part.

Brolin did talk to Bale and read a draft of the screenplay, which he found "interesting and dark; ultimately, though, I didn't think it felt right".

Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese

A teenage refugee and admirer of John Connor and the Resistance. As portrayed by Michael Biehn in The Terminator, he was sent back in time to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor to ensure the survival of the human race, and fathered John with her.

Yelchin said he wanted to portray Kyle as Biehn did and not make him appear weaker because it was a younger version of the character. The difference in his portrayal lies in showing Kyle as intense.

But not concentrated until he joins the resistance proper. Yelchin tried to convey Kyle's intensity by focusing on how fast Biehn appeared when running in the original film.

Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate Connor

Kate is John Connor's pregnant wife. She is also a physician as well as a veterinarian.

Charlotte Gainsbourg was originally set to play the part, but left due to scheduling conflicts with another film. As portrayed by Claire Danes in the third film, Kate was a veterinarian; but in this film, she is now a physician.

Howard suggested, as part of the character's backstory, that Kate studied medical books and interviewed many surviving doctors after the events of Judgment Day.

The film's subject matter reminded her of developing countries, devastated by war and lacking basic supplies such as clean water, which "reflects things that are going on currently in this privileged world that we are living in where there hasn't been an apocalypse and robots haven't taken over the world.

I think that's something definitely for us to reinvestigate and that we continue to make choices for our own future to take that into consideration". Howard also focused on Kate "being accustomed to fear and loss" because the character was a military brat.


Detailed Plot & Screenshots

SFMZ Note: This detailed plot is provided from a combination of (synopsis), (the 2005 script), and our own scene descriptions.

Longview State Correctional Facility, Death Row, 2003: Marcus Wright is an intense, powerful man, 20's-30's, his head shaven. In his cell, death row inmate Marcus stares with a resigned expression. One of the guards unlocks the cell door for Dr. Serena Kogan of Cyberdyne Systems. She's in her 30's-50's, brilliant, attractive, but thin and pale, a scarf tied around her head. She carries a clipboard.

Marcus takes in the scarf covering her sparse hair. Realizing she has cancer, he's not the only one with a death sentence. He sells his signature for a kiss. Cupping her face with his handcuffed hands, he kisses the cancer infested doctor, that's what death tastes like. She passes him the clipboard and pen. Marcus signs and looks up from the form. As she leaves, Serena commends Marcus for signing his body over for medical research.

In the execution chamber, Marcus stares straight ahead, taking deep, steady breaths, struggling not to succumb to fear. Buckles tighten, an alcohol swab on Marcus' forearm, a needle punctures his skin. Fingers turn the valve to release the lethal chemicals. Marcus looks up toward the deadly I.V running into his arm. He looks toward his reflection in a one-way mirror, the dim shapes of witnesses beyond.

The lethal injection takes hold, bright lights overhead, he is losing focus. A face emerges, backlit, blurred, it's Serena. She's in focus for just a moment . . . then darkness. One year later, the Skynet system is activated, perceives humans as a threat to its own existence, and eradicates much of humanity in the event known as Judgment Day.

South-Central Sector, North America, 2018: John Connor leads an attack by the Resistance on a Skynet research and development facility. From within an A-10 cockpit, we see a computer targeting screen. The aircraft approaches. FWOOM! A massive concussion as a missle hits the earth at high-velocity.

A huge blast - flame and dirt are thrown high in the air. A flaming body hits the groud. A steel Terminator, its metal skull blown open and scorched. A-10 Warthogs stubby attack planes, scream from the sky, raking the remaining facility with cannon fire.

Resistance fighters. Motley military and civilian choppers land in the facility grounds, disgorging Resistance soldiers. These are human troops in high-tech helmets, carrying slightly futuristic conventional assault weapons. The Warthogs veer off, some are shot down.

A surviving Terminator lays broken on the ground. A chopper lands on it, crushing it further into the ground. Out steps John Connor and fires a couple rounds in it's metal skull. The troops run toward an opening which has been blown into the ground. The assault group enters the dark hatchway, led by Connor.

Underground Facility: A high-tech installation in ruins. Red lighting, distinctive of Skynet environments. Soldiers flick on their weapons lamps and make their way carefully inside, pretty deserted. They kick aside rubble to enter. Entering a Robotic room, the lamp beams play over banks of electronics.

Deeper into the complex, a heavy door blows off its hinges. Soldiers move from cover and through the blown door. The team is hit with a rancid smell. Their search lights reveal human experiments, bodies left to decay. The team recoils at the horrific sight.

John and the team discover human prisoners . . . and the plans for the development of a new type of Terminator incorporating living tissue. Connor is ordered topside to rejoin Jericho and other soldiers guarding the entrance. Reaching the surface, he discovers they are dead.

He commandeers a chopper but is quickly shot down. Suddenly, the base is destroyed from a small nuclear explosion. Connor is the only survivor. Behind him a Terminator, with its metal legs blown off, attacks. The one-on-one battle ends with Connor blasting the Terminator with the chopper's attached heavy machine gun.

Later, in the far distance, the mud roils, seeming to assume a human shape. Looking around in shock, the naked figure is so drenched in mud we can't recognize it at first. The figure rises, looks up at the sky, and falling rain washes away mud from his face... it's Marcus Wright. He opens his mouth, makes a few gutteral noises . . . then screams. Marcus looks down and sees a fallen soldier. A dead man no longer needs clothes.

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