Originally Posted by oink
Now that I think about it, yeah, it could
(and was) be played that way.
T2 and T3 served as the build-up of JC as the savior, the leader.
At the end of T3, we have JC as an adult, in a safe underground bunker, organizing the resistance over the airwaves.
It seemed to me the next step would have been to leave the bunker and rendezvous with his people to begin the fight.
The interim step wasn't necessary or really needed in the progression of this story.
You think so?
A mere civilian man doesn't just suddenly find himself in power after the fall of modern society. Sometimes something exceptional happens to put him there. I think it is fair game to tell a story about how he got there.
He took the gamble to save the prisoners instead of writing them off. He trusted a machine to get him access (just as he had to put trust in a machine to save him in the past). He is then able to save Kyle Reese (or at least guide him to safety), who will later travel back in time to save young John Conner. These are all important factors that will make his future success possible, imo. These are all critical factors that senior leadership failed to embrace (because they lacked the same experiences that JC had), and it ultimately lead to their demise.
If not for all of that, he could just as well get nixed as a common foot soldier, and then it is surely all over for the human race (especially after senior leadership is now wrapped up in an imploded tuna can at the bottom of the sea). He needed to be there, where he was, what he did, for him to be in the right place, in the most desperate of times as the entire top cabinet is literally *gone*. He is the last and only hope for human survival at that point (whereas at the head of the movie he is maybe a mid-level officer with an inspirational ham radio show, at best?). *That* is how I think he comes to be "the" leader. It doesn't just happen because he is "John Conner" who happened to encounter a Terminator or few in some past timeline.