Thomas Dekker, who plays the emo cyber-revolutionary John Connor in Fox's addictive Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, dropped a bunch of spoilers on us on Tuesday, Dec. 6, while promoting the second half of the show's current season in an exclusive interview in Los Angeles.
Dekker—who in real life is prone to giggling and is way friendlier than his dour onscreen character—reveals, among other things, that his not-everything-she-seems girlfriend Riley (Leven Rambin) may not have killed herself, as it appeared in the last episode of last year.
"She did not die from slitting her wrists," Dekker said, confirming what co-star Garret Dillahunt had leaked earlier. "I will say that much. But I can't say what happens—Garret's a trickster, so I wouldn't believe much that he said."
But she may not be the last character to take the big dirt nap as the season winds up, Dekker added. "They said at Comic-Con that one of the major characters would die this season, and I think everyone thought it was Garret's character [killer cyborg Cromartie] ... His character did die, but then ... he's back [as a new cyborg, so] maybe he's not the one who dies. I can't really say who. It's so cryptic. Somebody still has to die. ... Yes, there's still a major death. I think."
And Dekker saved the biggest spoiler for last.
John will encounter his real father, the ill-fated Kyle Reese, played by Jonathan Jackson, at some point.
Dekker also talked about the emotional and physical journey John will take as the show returns with new episodes in its new timeslot, Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT, starting Feb. 13. Following is an edited version of our exclusive interview.
Your character sort of underwent big changes emotionally this season. You cut your hair and became more serious. Sort of edging toward the character that we expect you to be.
Dekker: I think what we wanted to do is, you know, in the very beginning of the second season, he goes into this transformation and ... he is changing, but it kind of calms down a little bit, because we had to bring in a lot of plot, ... so ... his evolution stopped a little bit. But in the back nine, we're sort of back on that track, but it's to do with the plot. ... What I love so much about our back nine, for me personally, is John is a lot smarter even than I think everybody's thinking he is about everything that's going on. So it's very cool, for me, to get through that. ... Because he still kind of has that kind of innocent vibe with his thinking, and you find out it's not true. So that's very cool. ...
He's a smart guy. Very smart. I was kind of surprised. I was like, "Wow, he's a smart guy. He's on top of it."
The relationship between John and his mother [Sarah, played by Lena Headey], also underwent a lot of strain.
Dekker: There's the war at home, right there. Jesus. ... Obviously there's a lot of dramatic potential, having John and Sarah at each other, you know what I mean? ... I think it was a believable evolution after what happens ... in the very beginning of the season. However, when he killed Cromartie in Mexico, and she kind of has a breakdown at the end of the episode, ... I take her [makes a hugging motion], I personally kind of took that to be he realized that she's really hurting and not in a good place. And he kind of went back to her side. ...
I don't even know if that was the writers' intention, but I kind of ran with that, and I sort of played it for the next few episodes, him being more on her side. So they've ended up writing that back in. ... There's still a major friction, because it's been a very difficult time, ... but I think he's definitely less against her. I think they're closer.
I think also it seemed like John was fighting what's inevitable about his future, that he's destined to lead the rebellion against the machines in the future.
Dekker: Yeah. Well, I think also he was particularly fighting the inevitability of his future in the first season. I think once he killed this man and he left high school, he kind of decided that this is what he had to do and he had to step up to it, but ... I think in a way that made him angry at people who reminded him of his feelings. Which was, like, his mom and his uncle. ... Whereas Cameron [Summer Glau] doesn't. Maybe she reminds him of his attraction to her, but that's all under the rug anyway, so ....
Is any of that going to happen? Have you developed that at all this season?
Dekker: Yes. Yeah. In a very surprising way. ... But we haven't even shot that yet. But I know it's coming. So I'm excited to get back to shooting. ...
The show was doing a lot of doing shooting stuff in the future. We're going to see more of that?
Dekker: A lot more. Yeah. A lot more. I think that that's inevitable, you know what I mean? You can't sort of toss it in, ... like, "This happens soon." You've got to bring it in now.
Interesting. Are we going to see a lot more cyborgs coming back or a lot more people? It seems like there's a revolving door on the time machine.
Dekker: I think that the writers are tired of that. I think that initially, when we started the second season, kind of one of the requests of sort of the powers that be was that we did more singular episodes, less serialized. ... That's why they invented the wall with all the names on it, so that we would be able to do a mission an episode. But that involved a lot of Terminators coming back, and to me that's always irritated our writers. And now they have permission to be more serialized again, and more science fiction, so that's happening less. Because that started to bug me. I was like, "Yeah, this time machine's busier than freaking JFK airport." ...
Yeah, I think it does, it definitely, I don't think in the back nine we find anybody coming back. There's just a lot, it really gets interesting with John Henry [Dillahunt] and, uh, my father.
Dekker: My father. My real father.
In the future.
Dekker: Yes. And no.
You're killing me now.
Dekker: [Laughs] I'm really sorry. It's a killer. Wait for the first episode. You'll get what I'm saying.