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Kyle Reese

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Subject: Sarah Connor (Terminator), List of Terminator video games, The Terminator, Michael Biehn, John Connor
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Kyle Reese

Kyle Reese is a fictional character in the Terminator franchise. He is the posthumous father and a subordinate of John Connor and the first love interest of Sarah Connor. The character is portrayed by Michael Biehn in The Terminator, Jonathan Jackson in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Anton Yelchin played him as a teenager in Terminator Salvation, and Australian actor Jai Courtney portrays him in Terminator Genisys.


  • Terminator film series 1
    • Backstory 1.1
    • The Terminator 1.2
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1.3
    • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines 1.4
    • Terminator Salvation 1.5
    • Terminator Genisys 1.6
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2
    • Characterization 2.1
  • Production background 3

Terminator film series

Kyle Reese
Terminator films character
Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese in The Terminator.
First appearance The Terminator
Created by James Cameron
Portrayed by Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day)
Anton Yelchin (Terminator Salvation)
Jai Courtney and Bryant Prince (Terminator Genisys)
Gender Male
Occupation Soldier
Significant other(s) Sarah Connor
Children John Connor (son)

Kyle Reese (Sergeant, Tech-Com, DN38416) is a soldier in the human resistance from the post-apocalyptic future of The Terminator, where most of humanity had already been wiped out in a deadly nuclear war on August 29, 1997, sparked off by an artificial intelligence known as Skynet. The sentient computer system launched a genocidal war on the survivors. When Skynet sends one of its most feared machines, a T-800 series Terminator, back to pre-apocalypse Los Angeles, California on May 12, 1984, to assassinate the young Sarah Connor, Connor decides to send a soldier to intercept the Terminator. Sergeant Kyle Reese volunteers.


In the original war, Kyle was born sometime in 2002, 5 years into the War. Apparently, his mother died in childbirth, while his father died when he was a young child. He soon became a soldier, quickly rising through the ranks. In 2019, he held a rank of sergeant. His official dog tag number is DN38416, and he works in the Tech-Com facility of the Resistance. He is one of personal soldiers to John Connor (who is also his future son due to Reese's time travel), and is often selected for personal infiltrator missions by John. He also assisted in stealing and reverse-engineering most of the Skynet technology, pulling raids on gunshops and stealing most of the laser-rifle equipment with his troops for the Resistance. His troops are also responsible for stealing the time-traveling technology that Skynet has developed. He personally volunteered for a one-way mission back to pre-apocalypse Los Angeles to save Sarah Connor, mostly because he has a picture of her given by John.

The Terminator

Once he had gone through, the time displacement equipment was destroyed, leaving only him and the Terminator in 1984. Arriving unarmed and not knowing what the Terminator looks like in its human disguise, Reese locates and follows Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), shadowing her until the T-800 Model 101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) attempts to carry out its mission. He rescues her, warning her of the impending doom of the human race and of the future significance carried by her and her unborn son. Though initially hostile towards Reese, Sarah grows to trust and love him as he becomes the only thing between her and the Terminator. On the run from the Terminator, Kyle reveals that he volunteered because he has long been in love with Sarah, because John gave Kyle a picture of her.

Though battle-hardened and world-weary, Reese fell deeply in love with Sarah Connor, a woman he had never met and only knew through her photo. After Kyle tells Sarah of this history, the two consummate their relationship and Sarah conceives John. Kyle's life, however, is cut short when both he and Sarah are forced to confront the Terminator. After a high speed chase where he is wounded by gunfire and thinking that they destroyed the Terminator in an explosion of a fuel truck, they are again chased by the now bare metal endoskeleton inside an automated factory. In a final confrontation, the Terminator attacks Reese and delivers a mortal blow. Though dazed, Reese reaches for his last homemade pipe bomb, lights it, and wedges it in between the Terminator's pelvic strut and torso. The Terminator is blown apart, and Kyle is killed. The top half of the Terminator remains functional however, and it is left to Sarah to destroy it by leading it into a hydraulic press.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Michael Biehn reprises his role for a cameo in T2. Though it was cut from theatrical release, it was restored in extended edition on LaserDisc. When Sarah Connor is having a nightmare about Judgement Day, Kyle appears in a dream state version of her prison cell and reminds her of the coming danger, and the need to protect their son (Edward Furlong). However, as Kyle begins to walk out of the cell, Sarah desperately follows him only to be led to a courtyard of kids playing before they are destroyed by a nuke.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Kyle Reese never made a physical appearance in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, but his son, John Connor (Nick Stahl) appears to bear a striking resemblance to him throughout the film. John also stated out of pity to the Terminator (Schwarzenegger) that it was the closest thing he ever had to a father due to him never meeting Reese.

Terminator Salvation

Kyle Reese is portrayed as a teenager by Anton Yelchin in Terminator Salvation. The film takes place in 2018, and it revolves around his first meeting with his future son John (Christian Bale). As a teenager, Kyle was the leader of the Los Angeles Resistance cell, even though it only consisted of two people. Because of this, he aspires to join the formal Resistance regulars, who mark themselves with a red stripe on their left sleeve, once he has "earned it".

It is clear that Kyle is immediately drawn to the charismatic figure of John Connor because he leaves his Los Angeles base after hearing the latter's Resistance broadcast. Inspired by Connor's example, he frequently quotes segments of the broadcasts and adapts strategies that Connor suggests for taking down Terminators. He similarly shares a unique bond with Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), who helps hone Kyle's strategies in close-quarters combat, whereas Kyle's lectures on what humans are fighting for reminds Marcus of his humanity.

In the film, Kyle's father had initially survived Judgment Day but died prior to the events of the movie, and Kyle is the primary target of Skynet due to its awareness that he would eventually travel through time to 1984 and become the father of John Connor. In the film, Kyle is already working with and protecting a child named Star (Jadagrace Berry) when the two later save Marcus Wright from a T-600 attack in the ruins of Los Angeles.

After Skynet captures him outside of LA, Reese, upon escaping, later worked with his future son building a bomb to destroy Skynet's San Francisco Command. The two also fought one of the first T-800 models together during this time. Connor took Reese into the Resistance with Star, granting him the promotion to Tech-Com regular. Kyle and John have begun developing a friendship as mentioned in the first film, evidenced by the way in which Kyle's promotion (signified by inheriting John's tactical jacket with red stripe) comes alongside his joining of John's inner circle at the end of the film.

Terminator Genisys

Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese in Terminator Genisys.

Reese is portrayed by Australian actor Jai Courtney in Terminator Genisys in addition Bryant Prince as Reese's 12 year old self. In this film, Reese meets John Connor (Jason Clarke) as a child after he rescued him from a terminator. Twelve years later, Connor sends Reese back through time to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), only to discover that she has been raised and trained by a reprogrammed T-800 (Schwarzenegger), thus the events of the first film has been negated due to a chain of events related to Skynet's (Matt Smith) actions throughout the timeline. When the original T-800 is destroyed by both its reprogrammed counterpart and Sarah, Kyle works with them to battle against a T-1000 (Lee Byung-hun). After the timeline's alteration, Kyle—who receives fragments of memories that belong to his alternate self—realizes that Skynet will attack in 2017 instead of 1997. The trio discovers that Skynet has also compromised John Connor prior to the timeline's alteration, turned him into a nanocyte prototype terminator designated T-3000 and tasked to ensure Skynet's rise. Kyle ultimately learns of his paternity to John Connor and his own death in the original timeline. Kyle, Sarah, and the T-800 fight a battle to ensure that Skynet and its machines never rise. After Reese, Sarah, and the T-800 successfully thwart Skynet's attack and defeat the T-3000, he pursues a romantic relationship with Sarah, and promises her that he will never leave her again.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Kyle Reese
The Sarah Connor Chronicles character
First appearance "Dungeons and Dragons"
Created by John Friedman
Portrayed by Jonathan Jackson
Skyler Gisondo
Gender Male
Occupation Soldier
Family Derek Reese (brother)
Children John Connor

In the parallel universe television show, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, it is revealed that Reese has an older brother named Derek, who becomes one of the show's main characters. He is also a Resistance soldier from the future.


In this series, Kyle Reese is played by Jonathan Jackson in the episode "Dungeons & Dragons", which details how he and his brother are separated during a recon mission before he made his trip through time to protect Sarah Connor; further details are in the episode "Goodbye To All That" of the second season, during Derek's recollection of the future war. An eight-year-old version of Kyle Reese, portrayed by Skyler Gisondo, briefly appears in the episode "What He Beheld" when Derek Reese takes John Connor out for ice cream on his 16th birthday.

They find a younger Kyle and Derek playing baseball at the park. In the episode "Goodbye To All That," during one of Derek's recollections of the future war, Kyle (when he was a Corporal) and a small group of his unit attempted to save forty prisoners, including General John Connor, from Skynet's forces. However, he became trapped and one of the Resistance's senior officers, Martin Bedell, sacrifices his life to save him and free Skynet's prisoners. In the episode "The Demon Hand", it is hinted at by Sarah to Derek Reese that Kyle's ashes were scattered "in the grass"; a later episode shows that he was in fact buried in a grave marked only by the year of his death, and in the next-to-last episode of the series, Derek's own ashes are buried next to his brother, or at least in the same cemetery where his brother rests.

A mental image of Kyle Reese appeared to a wounded Sarah in the episode "The Good Wound". Throughout the episode, her image of Kyle guides her in finding medical treatment for herself along with getting help from Derek Reese, Kyle's brother. In the season two finale "Born to Run", John is led by Catherine Weaver to an alternate post-Judgment Day timeline where John Connor has never led the Resistance due to the displacement from his present. There, he encounters his father for the first time.

Production background

It was originally scripted that Reese and another soldier, named "Sumner", were sent to protect Sarah from the Terminator, but Sumner died upon arriving after the time portal fused him into a fire escape (the first two sequels show the time displacement field melting through whatever object is in the way; e.g. Terminator 2: Judgment Day shows the field melt a hole in a chainlink fence when the T-1000 arrives, and obliterate part of a semi truck when the T-800 arrives). In the original script, Reese says to Dr. Silberman, "The Terminator had already gone through. Connor sent two of us to intercept it, then zeroed the whole place, but Sumner didn't make it." Sumner would later appear in a Sarah Connor Chronicles episode and make it alive through the time portal with Kyle's brother and two other Resistance time-traveling agents.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was the original choice to play Reese while director James Cameron intended to use a thinner, more ordinary looking actor as the Terminator, his first choice being Lance Henriksen. Upon meeting Schwarzenegger,

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