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Lionel Canter is the main antagonist and a scientist of the Surrogates from the (2009 film) Surrogates.

He was portrayed by James Cromwell, who also played Yokai in Big Hero 6, Joseph Campbell in The General's Daughter, The Colonel in DreamWorks' Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Warden Hazen in the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard, Dr. Arthur Arden in American Horror Story: AsylumCaptain Dudley Liam Smith in L.A. Confidential, and William Donahue in Eraser.


Lionel Canter is a scientist and the head of the company Virtual Self Industry (VSI) who created Surrogates initially to help disabled humans to do things they can't make by themselves. However, he was later dismissed of VSI. Disilliusoned by his own invention, he created another Surrogate named the Prophet to discouraging humans of using surrogates and preparing a rebellion He sets the false Prophet in an enclave of humans in Boston. He also retired himself to private life.

One night, when talking to his son Jarid, the latter was attacked with an EMP by Miles Strickland, an hitman. Enraged by the murder, he concocted a plan to avenge his son's death, by desactiving all the Surrogates and killing every user in the process. His surrogate (the Prophet) meets Tom Greer who's searching the weapon, but the interrogatory is inconclusive. After, the Prophet asks his henchmen to give the fatal weapon at Agent Peters, Greer's partner. The Prophet is later destroyed by the U.S Army. The same night, another surrogate of Canter breaks in Peter's house and kills her while she's asleep. He pirates the computer to take control of Peters's Surrogate. The next day, he asks Greer to give him the data access, and tries to kill him after. Then he goes to the FBI headquarters, immobilizes the operator and takes control of the station, giving him access to all surrogate's users in the world. Stone, Greer and Peters's boss tries to negotiate with him, ignoring that Peters's surrogate's controled by Canters. The latter reveals himself and by the way, reveals the fact that Stone hired Strickland to assassinate him, Stone being paid by VSI itself. Realizing that Canter controlled the Prophet and incited humans beings to rise against the new technology, the company decided to make him killed, not wanting to lose money earned by the sell of surrogates. Unfortunately, the killer mistakes his son's surrogate for Canter's surrogate. Then Canter simply destroys Stone's surrogate with the mortal weapon, killing his user in the process by liquefying his brain, avenging his son.

Greer, having realized that Canter controls Peters's surrogate, goes and breaks in the scientist's home. Holding him at gunpoint, Canter, deconnected of Peters's surrogate, explains his plan to the agent. Greer invites him to find another solution much less murderous but Canter denies that there's another way to fix the problem. Then he commits suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill.


Dr. Lionel Canter was once a kindhearted and visionary scientist who truly wanted to help disabled people to get a better life with surrogates. Even with his lay-off of VSI, when he became desabused by his creation and his former company, he tried with non-violents methods to help the world by starting a revolution against VSI and his technology, seeing that people becomes more dependent of it.. However, the murder of his son has pushed him off the deep end, making him take the decision that for eliminating surrogates, the users must be also killed. The grief and the depression caused by his son's assassination made him deluded and selfish, impeding him to see another solution much less extreme than genocide of surrogates's users. He was obviously ruthless in the pursuit of his goal, killing Peters to take control of his surrogate, and vengeful, by killing the responsibles of Jarid's murder. 

Despite all of this, the protagonist Greer seems to agree with Canter's idea about the surrogates. The former even succeeds in carrying out Canter's plan in a less lethal manner.



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