Friday The 13th‘s Tommy Jarvis became one of the most important characters in the franchise when he was first introduced in Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter. Known as the only person who could successfully kill Jason Voorhees, he appeared in three movies, which came to be known as the Tommy Jarvis trilogy. With each installment came a new actor portraying the iconic character.

Created by Sean S. Cunningham, Friday The 13th is one of the most iconic slasher movie franchises to come out of the 1980s, and continues into the 21st century. It’s composed of twelve movies, comic books, and video games. There are even some non-canonical short films that are considered part of the franchise as well. Like most slasher movies, Jason Voorhees is seemingly immortal, and returns for every sequel no matter how the previous installment concluded. While many characters have tried and failed at killing him, only Tommy Jarvis has been successful. While the connotation behind Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter’s subheading alluded to a conclusion to the franchise, this was not the case. Friday The 13th: A New Beginning followed shortly after.


With Tommy’s storyline being the most dominant in Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter, Friday The 13th: A New Beginning, and Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, fans theorized that Tommy imagined the events that followed his childhood. Tommy became unhinged in his second appearance; the subsequent sequels appear to be a figment of his imagination, as his storyline is abandoned following the sixth movie. Each rendition of Tommy is unique to the character’s growth into adulthood. Audiences were first introduced to Tommy when he was presumably in pre-pubescence and conclude the trilogy during his adulthood.

Corey Feldman

The first actor to portray Tommy Jarvis was Corey Feldman, who is well-known for roles that succeeded this one. He is commonly recognized for Gremlins, The Stand, The Goonies, and The Lost Boys. Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter played a major hand at Feldman’s success in the 1980s, and for good reason. His rendition of the character is tactical, smart, and courageous. While it was not common for a child to kill a slasher killer, Tommy became known for his ability to take down one of the sub-genre’s most dangerous characters. Feldman was just a budding actor at the time, but brought with him the talents that would carry on to his subsequent roles. He ultimately set the tone for every Tommy who followed him.

John Shepherd

John Shepherd’s Tommy Jarvis suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following the events of Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter. As Feldman’s character notably chops at Jason’s body, it is clear that the future of the character would be filled with the struggles of overcoming the past. In Friday The 13th: A New Beginning, Shepherd brings a unique sense of a complete loss of sanity to the character. As he grows increasingly fearful that he is hallucinating, it is revealed that there’s actually a copycat killer who is enacting revenge on the boy who killed the original Jason. His performance is the weakest of the three actors, but still has its merits as it focuses on the aftermath of the original movie and how that could impact a final boy’s future in a slasher franchise.

Thom Mathews

Thom Mathews’ Tommy Jarvis concluded the trilogy. Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives features him in adulthood as he plans on facing his demons for one last time. In a bizarre turn of events, the deceased Jason comes to life following a thunder storm that causes lightning to strike his corpse and turns him into a zombie. While it’s a strange addition to the franchise, it added an extra layer to Tommy. Mathews takes on the task of bringing Jason back to where it all began to leave him in his watery grave once and for all. The actor is known for his work in zombie movies, as he starred in The Return Of The Living Dead and Return Of The Living Dead Part 2, which made him the ideal candidate for a zombie Jason movie. With so many Tommy Jarvis’s in the Friday The 13th franchise, only one has continued to act as the character in short films — Thom Mathews. While each actor brought something new to the role, Mathews was one of the most unforgettable.

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