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What happened to Sarah Connor after The Terminator?

How did she learn all about weapons and how did she and John know those people in the desert that had all the weapons?

In T2, when they meet up, it appears they all have a history. Wasn't she in the insane asylum?

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    When the first movie ended, she's going to Mexico/Central America to live off the grid. Intending to teach John everything he will need to know (as she describes at the end of the film.) There is no timeline of this time in the movies (I don't know the books) She DID spend years with the "people in the desert with the weapon" who taught her/John weapons while she was with them. Sometime later she/john get captured (maybe while trying to bomb the computer lab) and she is put in the Asylum and John in the Foster System due to the bombing attempt (Believe mentioned in T2 by the Dr.)
    – NJohnny
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 2:50
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    Gave birth. Got institutionalised. Got ripped as hell. Regular stuff. Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 10:17
  • when i first read the question i thought you meant the german singer from like 2002 and was like "yeah, whatever happened to her" :D
    – clockw0rk
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 17:02
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    It's pretty clear Sarah wasn't in the asylum for the whole period between movies; John talks about having been raised by her and trained for his future as a military leader. The fact that she knows all about weapons and knows people who have secret bunkers full of guns is included specifically to give hints about what happened during the intervening period (as well as to move the story of T2 forward).
    – Ben
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 7:13

1 Answer 1

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At the end of the first film, we see a pregnant Sarah driving through Mexico with a German Shepherd.

The Terminator (1984)

The official novelisation of the first film reveals her intentions at the time.

And so she began the Plan. When she was discharged from the hospital, she emptied her meager bank account, collected her mother's life insurance, bought the attack dog, the .357, and the jeep, then set out on the road. South. All the way to the bottom of South America, maybe. Get into the birth and raise John Connor and prepare him for the war. Where it was safe from nuclear attack.

The Terminator (novel by Randall Frakes)

In the second film, John explained that Sarah shacked up with various guys -- particularly ex-military guys -- in places like Nicaragua, in order to learn everything she could from them and pass that knowledge on to him.

JOHN: You see, we spent a lot of time in Nicaragua and places like that. For a while there, she was with this crazy ex-Green Beret guy running guns. Then there were some other guys. She'd shack up with anybody she could learn from so she could teach me how to be this great military leader. Then she gets busted. It's like, "Sorry, kid. Your mom's a psycho. Didn't you know?" It's like everything I'd been brought up to believe was all made-up bullshit. I hated her for that. But everything she said was true. She knew. And nobody believed her. Not even me.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

John also said she was arrested for trying to blow up a "computer factory" at some point, but this was presumably after years of them living in Central/South America together.

TIM: Where'd you learn this stuff from anyway?

JOHN: From my mom. My real mom, I mean.

[...]

TIM: That her?

JOHN: Yes.

TIM: She's pretty cool, huh?

JOHN: No, she's a complete psycho. That's why she's at Pescadero. It's a mental institute, OK? She tried to blow up a computer factory, but she got shot and arrested.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles exists in a timeline where only the first two films happened. According to that series, though, when John was a kid, he and Sarah spent a year and a half living in a village in Mexico...

JOHN: When I was a kid, I lived in Mexico for a year and a half... in this, uh, little village called Dejalo.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - S02E08 - "Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today"

... she did paramilitary training with Enrique outside of Oaxaca...

SARAH: I did paramilitary training with Enrique outside of Oaxaca. He taught John to shoot rifles.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - S01E02 - "Gnothi Seauton"

... and she spent three years in a "mental hospital" (likely a reference to her time in Pescadero State Hospital).

SARAH: I've had nine aliases, 23 jobs, spoken four languages and spent three years in a mental hospital for speaking the truth.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - S01E02 - "Gnothi Seauton"

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    Probably Central America instead of South America... because John only mentions Nicaragua (Central America) by name, and if they had been in South America he probably would have mentioned South America. (My opinion) There are many countries just like Nicaragua in Central America (Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico etc.)
    – NJohnny
    Commented Jan 4, 2023 at 3:00
  • The key line, without being facetious, is that she "shacked up" -- very hot woman with a burning desire to avert the end of the World that only she knows about is willing to do whatever it takes. Although she starts off as an ordinary young woman, she is not only a case of, Some are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them, but also, she may have been someone, if there is anything to genetics, of extraordinary but untapped potential because John is a very, very intelligent kid and will indeed prove to be a great leader.
    – releseabe
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 16:20
  • That's only 4.5 years accounted for, assuming John is telling the truth. Maybe not remembering or proud of his time in South America as he'd have been up to 5 years old. Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 8:59
  • @Cees Timmerman - They could've lived in Central/South America, until John was seven, if they only left around the time that Sarah was arrested and committed to Pescadero. In one episode of TSCC, a man recognises John when he returns to Mexico, implying that he wasn't that small when he was last there. That said, the continuity regarding John's age is a bit messed up in both TSCC and Terminator 3. He was supposed to be 10 in T2 (shown when the T-1000 looked up his criminal record), but TSCC and Terminator 3 seem to think was 13, probably because Edward Furlong was 13. Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 15:00

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