"Number Five... is ALIVE."
Number "Johnny" Five is the robotic main character of the Short Circuit films. He was designed by shut-in computer genius Newton Crosby and built by the Nova Robotics Corporation as part of their S.A.I.N.T. mobile weapons project. Though created to be an instrument of war, Number Five's destiny changed forever after he was struck by a bolt of lightning and developed self-awareness. Perpetually hungry for new input, Number Five later took on the name "Johnny Five" and ventured out into the world.
During a combat demonstration for the SAINT robots, a freak thunderstorm kicked up and cut the display short. As the robots were being prepared to go into storage, a bolt of lightning struck the charging station that Number Five was still connected to,and a power surge enveloped Number Five. Still functional but disoriented, the robot was ordered to go to the Nova lab's workshop for repairs. On its way down, it took in its surroundings with a newfound curiosity, behaving much like a young child. The robot got lost on its way to the workshop and ended up wandering off the lab grounds, venturing out into town. When Nova realized that Number Five was missing, Newton Crosby and his partner Ben Jahrvi (shortened from "Jabituya") were able to track it and monitor its data input. However, Sgt. Skroeder - Nova's military liaison and security chief - was convinced that the robot was dangerous and was determined to destroy it, sending out armed troops to find the missing machine.
During its travels, Number Five's tracking device was damaged by a bird that landed on its head and it rolled into the back of a snack truck owned by Stephanie Speck. Stephanie doesn't notice at first, but that evening after she returns home, she notices noise coming from her truck and discovers Number Five. At first, Stephanie believes that Number Five is some sort of alien. She takes him into her house and he requests new 'input', analyzing everything in the house with a childlike sense of wonder and making a mess while he does it. Stephanie also shows Number Five her bookcase and witnesses his ability to read at inhumane speed. After reading everything in the house and still wanting more input, Number Five starts watching television and begins memorizing and copying every quote, song and limerick he hears. He watches until morning and Stephanie then shows him her garden and her three-legged pet dog Beasley. Number Five is startled when Beasley barks at him and falls over backwards off of the porch. When Stephanie checks to see if he is all right, she notices the Nova logo on the side of Number Five's tracks. He admits he is a robot and then Stephanie phones Nova Robotics to tell them she has him. After finishing the call, Stephanie tells Number Five that Nova wants to take him apart to find out why he is malfunctioning. At first Five is unconcerned, but after spotting a grasshopper in the garden and accidentally squashing it, he asks Stephanie to reassemble it. Stephanie then tells Number Five the hard truth about death and Five comes to the conclusion that if Nova disassemble him, they will kill him.
Fearing for his life, Number Five takes off in Stephanie's truck. A hectic chase ensues with Nova pursuing Number Five and Stephanie all over the state, and Number Five tries to convince Stephanie and his programmer Newton that he is alive. Crosby is eventually convinced but Nova refuses to listen to him when he tries to convince them that Number Five is sentient. Using spare parts from a stolen Nova van, Number Five builds a copy of himself and sends it to distract Skroeder's men. The soldiers destroy the decoy and then pull out, then Number Five reveals himself to Crosby and Stephanie once they are gone. Wanting to explore and learn about the world, Number Five - adopting the name "Johnny" - and his friends drive to Montana where they can live in privacy.
Short Circuit 2
Two years after the events of the first film, Johnny Five ships himself out to an unnamed city (most likely New York) where his old friend and co-programmer Ben Jahrvi has set up a new business building and selling toy robots made in J5's likeness. During his time in the city, Johnny explores unescorted and greets the unprepared citizens, who are fearful and outright hostile toward him since he is a machine. Johnny is also unfamiliar with the concept of lying and finds himself being taken advantage of on numerous occasions. One of which involves the theft of over 57 car stereos after befriending the Los Locos gang members, who convince Johnny that they work for the "Department of Car Stereo Repairs". Eventually, while wandering through the city, Johnny meets a bank teller named Oscar Baldwin who escorts him home to Ben.
During the course of the film, Johnny befriends Oscar, but Oscar only wants to use Johnny to try and break into a bank vault which is adjacent to the warehouse that Ben and Fred are working out of. The plan that Oscar hatches involves Johnny tunneling underground, directly beneath the warehouse that Johny's friends are inside of. Oscar even goes so far as to have his men, Saunders and Jones, remove Fred and Ben from the warehouse without Johnny's knowledge, while Oscar uses his friendship with Johnny to get the robot to dig the tunnel for him, claiming that it's a "secret room that he just happened to know about". Oscar's plan succeeds with the help of the gullible Johnny, who burrows Oscar into the vault containing a rare assortment of diamonds - the Vandoleer Collection. Oscar takes the diamonds and then has his men get ready to take on the robot once he learns that Johnny is following them, which leads into a chase scene that involves Oscar, Saunders and Jones all chasing Johnny through the city in their car, in an attempt to disable the robot.Their chase eventually culminates at a cemetary, where Johnny lowers himself from a tree and picks up a startled Oscar, the former demanding answers from the latter, primarily Johnny inquiring as to why Oscar wanted to disassemble him.
Using Pig Latin, Oscar is able to send a message to his men, and picking up on what Oscar is trying to tell them, Saunders and Jones manage to run around the cemetary to sneak up behind Johnny. Jones manages to deliver a blow so powerful to Johnny's left shoulder using a crowbar, that it causes the robot to release Oscar, who rolls off to safety, while Johnny himself falls from the tree due to the sneak attack. Quickly taking advantage of Johnny while he's stunned, Jones drags the robot to the ground, and acting on Oscar's orders, he and Saunders begin to attack Johnny 5, beating him mercilessly with a crowbar and axe, inflicting damage all over the robot. Johnny 5 tries to beg his attackers to stop, pleading for his life, to no avail, while Oscar insists that his men destroy the robot, claiming that due to his memory capacity, Johnny 5 could be a witness that could be able to identify them all in court if they should ever be apprehended. Johnny suffers his left arm being hacked off and his right eye lense being smashed, as well as damage done to his battery, leaving him "bleeding" to death, as well as only having two hours to live after fighting off his attackers using a remote control device inside of his head to summon RC airplanes to his aid.
Surprisingly enough, the damages done aren't enough to fully "kill" Johnny and after limping through the city due to his damages, Fred later finds him and helps to try and fix him by breaking into a Radio Shack and rigging together parts, while getting Johnny's arm repaired, as well as his ability to speak. Johnny's repairs are haphazard and he is still leaking battery fluid, but is determined to find Oscar and stop him from escaping with the Vandoleer Collection. Johnny tracks the crooks to the harbor and stops them, but loses power in the process. Ben arrives on the scene and uses a defibrillator to bring Johnny back. Johnny is later fully repaired and redecorated with gold plating, which he shows off at a public hearing outside the courthouse where the United States government grants him full rights as an American citizen. When a reporter asks him how he feels about being granted citizenship, Johnny Five replies "I feel... ALIVE!"
Johnny 5 is very curious and inquisitive with an almost insatiable thirst for “input” of just about any kind, but he is especially fond of books and television. While he started life as a military prototype he has a great respect for life and refuses to use his capabilities to harm others, even when they have no such compunctions towards him. He is very intelligent and inventive with an encyclopedic knowledge, but can be quite naive and child-like at times and can be too eager to trust people that he shouldn’t. His innocent nature has been taken advantage of on several occasions.
He has a fondness for old movies and comedy shows, from which he quotes extensively. Favorites include Jackie Gleason, The Three Stooges, old gangster movies, Tarzan movies and assorted television commercials. He does occasionally quote from sources with more gravitas too, including William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon and various philosophical texts. His favorite books are Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio, probably because he feels empathy for the protagonists of those books.
He finds humans to be bemusing and is sometimes frustrated by their behaviour and their failure to recognize him as a sentient life form, but seems to like them on the whole and has several close friendships with humans.
- Movement - Johnny Five moves around on tank tracks and steers using a ball-wheel fitted behind the tracks.
- Speech and learning - Johnny assimilates information at an incredible pace; he has shown to be capable of reading any book in a matter of seconds. He developed a human speech pattern through watching excessive amounts of television and frequently quotes various TV shows and films.
- Personality - Johnny wasn't programmed with a personality, but developed one of his own following the lightning strike that resulted in his sapience. He is fascinated by everyday life that humans take for granted and views the world with a childlike sense of wonder, while also having both a great fear of his own mortality, as well as respect for it. Johnny also associates disassembly with death. However, his understanding of modern society is limited and he has been shown to be rather gullible, as shown through numerous instances in Short Circuit 2, the two primary instances bieng Johnny stealing car steroes for the Los Locos gang, under the belief that they worked for a business that repaired said stereos, and the second example being Johnny burrowing underground and breaking into a bank vault, all because he was led to believe it was a hiding place for Ben and Fred. Of course in the latter scenario, Johnny pieced it all together and realized that he had done wrong, setting things right in the end of the film by capturing Oscar.
- Laser - Since he was designed to be a war machine, Number Five was originally fitted with a laser weapon on his shoulder. After the events of the first film, he removed the laser and replaced it with a special toolbox containing numerous gadgets.
- Gadgets - Johnny's arsenal of gadgets includes a universal remote control, allowing to control just about any electronic device. He also carries a camera, a grapple, a hang-glider, and a plasma torch.
- Multi-purpose arm - Johnny also has a multi-purpose arm on his right hip. It contains gadgets used to help repair himself.
- Adaptability - In both Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2, Johnny is shown to be incredibly adaptive to nearly any situation that he finds himself in. For example, in Short Circuit 2, after being attacked by Oscar's men, Johnny 5 manages to use his universal remote to take control over remote controlled airplanes nearby, and to attack Oscar's men with them, allowing him to get away once they've fled.