"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 2Edit
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 several people attempt to take advantage of him, such as a gang of street punks, Ben's new partner Fred Ritter, and greedy bank clerk Oscar Baldwin. 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. 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 ditches Johnny, who chases him down across town only to be confused by Oscar when he uses Pig Latin to distract the robot, and then ambushed by Oscar's associates, who inflict serious damage upon him, by a sneak attack. Using his universal remote transmitter, J5 takes control of several radio-controlled airplanes to scare off his attackers, however Johnny Five is left with only a mere two hours to repair himself, before total memory failure. Among the damages done to the robot are a shattered right eye lens, a severed left arm, and severe damage to his main battery, hence the two hours. Fred later finds him and helps to try and fix him using replacement electronic parts from a discount electronics store. 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 naïve 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 behavior 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. However, his understanding of modern society is limited and he has been shown to be rather gullible.
- 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 destroyed 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.