- "If we don’t stop these things, everyone within a thousand miles dies."
- —JD Fenix.
Captain James Dominic Fenix, often called "JD" by his friends and squadmates, was a Gear soldier and the son of the legendary Marcus Fenix and Anya Stroud. He met Delmont Walker in boarding school in New Ephyra during the post-Locust War era, and together they joined the Coalition of Ordered Governments Army. After being ordered to use violence against protesting civilians in Settlement 2, JD and Del went AWOL and sought refuge among the Outsiders, where he later on befriended Outsider Kait Diaz. Unknown to his friends, it was JD himself who first ordered the DeeBees to fire, an act which deeply haunted him and led to his departure from the COG.
In 42 A.E., the Locust Horde, believed to have been killed, reemerged as the Swarm and initiated the Swarm Invasion to end humanity once and for all. Following an attack on the village JD and Del were living in, JD reunited with his father in an effort to rescue Reyna Diaz and defeat the new threat. With the scope of the threat becoming obvious, JD accepted a full pardon from First Minister Mina Jinn and a reinstatement in the COG army at his old rank of Second Lieutenant. After the Evacuation of Settlement 2, in which he was severely injured and his actions during the massacre revealed, JD was promoted to Captain, but became cold and distant from his friends, only rejoining them in Vasgar.
James Dominic Fenix was born in 20 A.E. to Sergeant Marcus Fenix, a war-hero of the Pendulum Wars and Locust War, and First Minister Anya Stroud, who served with his father during both wars. Anya, who was previously barren, was able to conceive James due to the birthing program created by Minister Mina Jinn. James was born on the Stroud Estate during the Interwar Period. He was partially named after Marcus Fenix's childhood friend, Corporal Dominic Santiago, who sacrificed his life in 17 A.E. during the Lambent Pandemic to save his parents in battle.
From a young age, JD was surrounded by stories of his parents, who helped bring about the end of the war. Friends of Marcus and Anya: Private Augustus Cole, Corporal Damon Baird, and Private Samantha Byrne played a part in JD's upbringing. Despite his parents marriage, Anya and Marcus lived separately. Anya, serving as First Minister, spent most of her time in New Ephyra, while Marcus stayed farming at the Stroud Estate.
While growing up, James went to boarding school in New Ephyra and lived with his mother. It was at boarding school where he met Delmont Walker, a classmate and ward of the state. The two became best friends as Del became an unofficial member of the Fenix family. During the summers, JD, Del, and Anya would return home. In 27 A.E., JD played with his father while he planted a tree, in which Marcus carved JD's initial into the bark. Anya died months later, however, attempting to have another child through Minister Jinn's birthing program. The grief of his mother's death caused a divide between JD and his father, mixed with his rebellious nature. JD and Del continued to attend the academy until they both graduated.
Joining the Coalition
Upon graduating from boarding school, JD decided to enlist in the Coalition of Ordered Governments Army as a Gear. Marcus objected, having withdrawn from the new COG when they proved more interested in authoritarian control than civic-minded rebuilding after the death of his wife. This proved to be the final straw between James and Marcus, as JD ran away from home and Marcus disowned him.
Accompanied by Del, JD entered the officer training program of the Coalition of Ordered Governments Military Academy and both reached the rank of Second Lieutenant, trained by family friend Chief Sergeant Clayton Carmine. During this time, they met fellow cadet Fahz Chutani, who constantly antagonized JD and Del in order to prove he was the fastest, strongest, best Gear in the academy. They also befriended Corporal Elizabeth Carmine, the niece of Chief Sergeant Clayton Carmine, who was seen as the best driver in the COG army. JD, Delmont, Fahz, and Elizabeth graduated from COG Military Academy in 39 A.E., after which JD caught the eye of First Minister Mina Jinn, and selected him and Del to lead a unit of security DeeBees in Settlement 2.
During their time in the military; Fenix, Walker, and Chutani were engaged in combat with the Outsiders. The Outsiders were formed by Stranded groups who rejected the COG due to the Hammer of Dawn Strikes that killed the majority of the planet after Emergence Day. The sentiment stayed after the Locust War in 17 A.E., when the COG was reforming and rebuilding civilization, enforcing their jurisdiction and power on all surviving humans of the war, as well as implementing reproductive progress to rebuild humanity. The Outsiders lived in the Wilds in re-purposed buildings or ruins outside COG jurisdiction.
Massacre of Settlement 2
In 41 A.E., protests from Settlement 2 occurred to fight the totalitarian rule the Coalition of Ordered Governments and New Ephyra had over Settlement 2. Gears and DeeBees, led by Lt. James Dominic Fenix, and followed by Lt. Delmont Walker and Lt. Fahz Chutani, were sent to quell the protesters. However, the protesters became violent and began assaulting the Gears and throwing incendiaries. In the battle, Lt. Fenix was ordered by First Minister Jinn to open fire on the civilians. Unable to disobey orders, Lt. Fenix ordered the DeeBees to shoot the civilians on sight.
Lt. Delmont Walker was horrified by the actions took against the civilians protesting in Settlement 2 and became disillusioned with the new Coalition. Wanting to abandon the government, he convinced Lt. Fenix to leave with him. Del remained unaware of JD's part in the massacre, as JD came to regret his part. JD and Del went to the Stroud Estate. Marcus refused to help and warned James and Del that abandoning the COG and going "Outsider" would mean being hunted down by the forever. JD and Del then left behind their armor and left the Coalition, becoming enemies of the state.
Joining the Outsiders
Sympathizing with the Outsiders, James and Delmont joined the village of Fort Umson, led by Reyna Diaz and her brother-in-law, Oscar Diaz. Reyna was reluctant to let former COG soldiers stay with them, but the two were vouched by James and Delmont's newfound friend and daughter of Reyna, Kait Diaz. For the following six months, JD and Del proved to be viable members of the community and making friends with most of the people there, including JD and Kait developing an even closer relationship.
JD and Del's past as COG soldiers happened to benefit the Outsiders, as part of their way of surviving was looting COG Settlements for supplies, including Fabricators, a three-dimensional processing machine capable of building materials and weapons. Since they were once COG soldiers, they knew how to navigate Settlements and the security. However, the looting of Settlements heated the tensions between the Outsiders and the COG. Reyna temporarily called off lootings, but eventually were in need of a Fabricator to power their generator.
Raid on Settlement 5
Approximately six months after they left the COG, JD and Del took part in a raid on Settlement 5, a Settlement in construction, in order to procure a Fabricator to power their generator and resupply electricity to their village. Accompanying them was Kait and Oscar Diaz. While surveying the area, the group was spotted by a Watcher, but was shot down by Kait. Unknown to them at the time, the bot was controlled and monitor by "Uncle" Baird, who was keeping an eye on JD and helping him on behalf of Marcus.
Afterwards, a Windflare occurred. The team tried to get inside the Settlement before the Stormwall closed them out, but they were too late. They managed to survive the Windflare, and after it passed the team was able to enter Settlement 5. While navigating the Settlement, the group was caught by a Watcher and were forced to neutralize the DeeBee forces, who were now using lethal force on Jinn's order. The group managed to reach the Construction Hub in the center of the Settlement where the Fabricator was located. JD, Del, and Kait managed to enter, retrieve the Fabricator, fight the defending DeeBees, and exit the hub while Oscar held the door outside.
When they emerged, Oscar had been detained by First Minster Jinn through her Command Bot. Jinn declared arrest of JD and his group, but not for stealing the Fabricator. Jinn accused JD's group of kidnapping her people. Before she could take action, a DeeBee cart ran over the Command Bot, controlled by Baird, and assisted JD and his group a way out of the Settlement. After fighting their way back with the Fabricator, they prepared for another battle at home in Fort Umson.
Battle of Fort Umson
After escaping from Settlement 5 with the help of an unknown benefactor, JD and his squad returned to Fort Umson with the Fabricator, just in time to hold off a heavy assault from the mechanized forces of COG First Minister Jinn. Jinn accused the Outsiders of abducting COG citizens, and soon declares that the Outsiders are starting a war they cannot hope to win.
Rescue of Fort Umson
Ambush on Fort Umson
After a violent battle which left large parts of the village in flames, JD and Del attempt to fix the Fabricator which had sustained damage during the battle, with Kait watching guard. The village was then attacked by unknown creatures, with JD, Del and Kait being spared only through the heroic actions of Kait's mother Reyna, who was abducted along with all the other Outsiders. Before her abduction, Reyna was able to remove the hand of her attacker. JD later found and studied the strange hand, harvesting one of the crystal growths on it.
Assault on the Stroud Estate
Desperate to get her mother and friends back, Kait pleads for JD and Del to help, and after a short debate between the group, Del suggests that JD knows someone who might have an answer to who abducted the Outsiders. After a short horse ride, the group find themselves at JD's home and endures a tense first meeting with JD's father, Marcus Fenix. Shortly thereafter, COG forces assault the estate, and JD assists in defeating the initial wave of DeeBees before Marcus reveals some family heirlooms; JD and Del's COG armor, his own COG armor, and the armor of JD's mother, Anya Stroud, gifting it to Kait. The group then battles across the estate, enduring many waves of DeeBee assaults and a Windflare before finally escaping on two MULE bikes that Marcus had stored there. During their escape, JD drives one of the bikes, with Marcus riding on the back and helping to bring down a Vulture gunship. This leads the COG to seemingly abandon its pursuit of the fugitives.
Mission to Fort Reval
Having been spurred into action by the strange crystal harvested at Fort Umson, Marcus leads the group towards an abandoned Osmium mine that had been used as a mass grave for the Locust bodies following the events of the Second Battle of Azura, which had encased the Locust bodies in strange, unbreakable crystal cocoons. The mine was located beyond the abandoned Fort Reval, an ancient fortress city that had existed during the Silver Age of Sera, and had been a popular tourist destination before the Locust War where the COG used it as a medical facility. During their investigation, the group is stalked by an unknown creature while encountering strange red pods, within one is the remains of a COG citizen. Soon after, Marcus is abducted by a Snatcher, and before they can rescue him, are attacked in force by the Swarm. Fighting off waves of Juvies, Drones and Pouncers, the group tracks the Snatcher through Fort Reval's stronghold and then through its catacombs, eventually reaching the abandoned osmium mine, with JD and Kait sharing a quiet moment, and Kait feeling guilty over involving JD's father.
Battle of Osmium Mine Bravo
JD and his friends battle their way to a massive ore transporter. Before boarding it, Del speaks to JD, saying that the group has no idea what is at the bottom of the mine or what the Swarm even is. JD said he trusted Del when he chose to leave the COG months earlier, and asks Del to trust him now. Del agrees, boarding the transporter and utilizing it to reach the bottom of the mine, having to employ numerous static defenses from an onboard Fabricator to combat the incoming Swarm. Once at the bottom, JD and the others continue to search for Marcus, who is their only lead to what might be happening. Over the course of the prolonged battle within the mine, it is discovered that the Locust were not actually wiped out by the Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon, instead merely entering a hibernation sleep state and evolving into the Swarm. After many violent encounters with the Swarm, the group finds Marcus' pod and releases him, initially assuming that he was dead before the old soldier gasped back to life. Marcus tells the group that while he was within the pod, he was connected to the Swarm's hive mind, and that while most of the Outsiders were dead, Kait's mother was still alive in another burial site. Kait immediately proposes the group assault the new Swarm nest. JD, Del, Kait and Marcus then escape from the mine on the destroyed transporter's cables. After escaping, Kait angrily lashes out at Marcus when he proposes a detour for backup instead, due to the much larger size of the second site. Refusing to wait, Kait, JD and Del charge off into the night, with Marcus reluctantly following.
Mission to the Tollen Dam
The group reaches an old COG dam, built before the discovery of Imulsion, which seems to be the only entrance to the new burial site. After several encounters with the Swarm and a Windflare, JD and the team have to make several detours through the dam, engaging the Swarm while Kait and Del repair the dam's subsystems. When the group braves a vicious Swarm assault and a much more severe Windflare, they discover just how massive the second Swarm nest is, and Kait begrudgingly relents to Marcus' plan to call for backup, helping to shunt power to a large communication station in the nearby town of Speyer, which they then proceed to. On the way, they encounter the massive Swarm commander that attacked Fort Umson and had abducted Kait's mother. In the ensuing battle, the group battles a Swarmak, a horribly disfigured variant of the Brumak, and Swarm reinforcements. Finally defeating the massive creature and restraining the Swarm commander, Kait angrily declares to the Swarm's hive mind that she is coming to destroy their entire nest, before brutally executing the Swarm commander with a curb stomp. The group then proceeds on their way to Speyer.
After a brief, mostly peaceful encounter with First Minister Jinn at the outskirts of Speyer, JD and the group fight through both Swarm and DeeBee forces to the communications array, finally securing it and then tasked with using a Fabricator to defend it. After successfully holding off a massive Swarm counterattack, the backup that Marcus had called for arrives in the form of Damon Baird, Augustus Cole and Samantha Byrne, the former members of Delta Squad. During the reunion, Baird reveals that he was the one who originally saved JD, Del, and Kait during the raid on Settlement 5, as he is the CEO and creator of the DeeBees, and that he brought more than just ammunition. Baird reveals two large assault mechs, Jack Jnr. and Second Betty, along with air support from an old King Raven, piloted by his wife Samantha. Soon the group heads out, with JD and Kait manning the mechs as they head back to the dam.
Assault on the Tollen Dam
Their trek back through the dam takes the group through the abandoned and sunken city of Tollen, where JD and Kait have little trouble mowing down the Swarm hostiles in the much larger and more powerful mechs. They even fight off several Swarmaks with little difficulty, eventually encountering an immense Swarm creature at the site of the main nest. After an intense fight which leads to the dismemberment of the huge creature, JD, Kait, Del and the former members of Delta Squad regroup at the main entrance to the nest. Soon after entering, Kait's excitement turns to horror as she find her mother Reyna biologically entombed within Swarm biomass with no way of freeing her. Reyna awakens from a trance-like state and tells Kait that if she is freed, she will die, and asks Kait to kill her. JD and the others leave so Kait can farewell her mother.
Afterwards, Kait makes her way out of the nest and tearfully embraces JD. Afterward, Kait shows the assembled soldiers the medallion that her mother had given her; it had belonged to Kait's grandmother, whom Kait had never known. Although on the front side, the medallion was ornate and decorative, on the back side, unbeknownst to the group, the medallion was shaped as the icon of the Locust Horde.
Rejoining the COG
After the events at Tollen, JD and his group made their way back to New Ephyra where Jinn offered JD and Del a full pardon on the condition that they rejoin the COG. The two accepted the deal, much to the disappointment of Kait Diaz.
Mission to Orzabal Crater
While Marcus and Kait returned to Fort Umson to rescue Eli and Mackenzie, Jinn assigned JD and Del to check out the Locust burial site at the Orzabal Crater which had gone dark after decades of transmitting updates even through Windflares. Aided by a squad of DeeBees and Dave, a JACK bot given to them by Baird, JD and Del found out that the burial site had been transformed into a Swarm Hive, the proof that they needed for Jinn that the problem had spread beyond the Osmium Mine Bravo and Tollen Dam burial sites. Cornered, the two were rescued by Baird, Cole, Samantha Byrne and a massive task force of DeeBees and Vultures that were more effective against the Swarm due to Baird's reprograming.
Battle of the South Village
Mission to Azura Research Facility
Based on information from JD's grandfather's data disk, Damon Baird sent Delta Squad on a rogue mission to an Abandoned Research Facility on Azura to reactivate the Hammer of Dawn by using a COG Rocket carrying a prototype satellite that was still in a silo in the facility. While split up from his father and Kait Diaz, JD had Dave unlock a door using a computer console. In the process, Dave downloaded data from the facility's systems, much of it top secret and sent it to Baird. Baird's interest was particularly drawn to high level data that he discovered was removed from the files. Baird instructed JD and Del to find the facility commander's office where the commander was likely to have stored the data after removing it. Fighting through the Swarm occupying the facility, JD and Del located the commander's office and retrieved an external hard drive with the missing data on it from the commander's safe.
Rejoining the others in the silo containing the rocket, JD and Del helped clear out the Swarm. However, the silo hatch only opened partway, meaning that the rocket would explode upon liftoff. Though everyone else wanted to run, JD refused to abandon the mission and ran into the silo with Dave and, reluctantly, Del following him. JD managed to hit a manual override to open the hatch, allowing a successful launch, but Dave was badly damaged by a Juvie and Marcus was greatly displeased with his son's reckless actions.
Upon returning to New Ephyra, Delta was called upon to meet with Jinn in her office. Marcus offered to go in alone to calm Jinn down first, though he reprimanded JD for his actions. The rest of Delta met with Baird in his laboratory where Baird had discovered that even with the newly-launched satellite, he couldn't locate the 15 original satellites of the Hammer of Dawn network, making the weapon virtually useless to them. With Dave shutting down due to damage, Baird provided the squad with the new JACK as a replacement and sent them to the armory to get some new components for it. In the gym next to the armory, JD encountered Fahz Chutani sparring with a DeeBee, sparking a confrontation between the two men that ended in a brief fight. JD won and Fahz stormed off. After retrieving the needed components for JACK, Delta met with Jinn in her office who was less than pleased with their rogue actions. Jinn ordered that the Hammer of Dawn, despite their efforts to reactivate it, was not to be used.
Evacuation of Settlement 2
Promotion to Captain
Siege of Riftworm Village
Mission to OZP-11
A few weeks later, JD arrived in Vasgar with Fahz, much to the annoyance of Kait and Del who suspected that JD was there to stop their mission to launch the UIR's Hammer of Dawn satellites at OZP-11. To their surprise, JD insisted that he had come to help if they would have him as Marcus had told his son what Kait learned about her origins at the Mount Kadar Laboratory. JD knew that they didn't trust him and after everything that had happened and everything that he'd done, he didn't blame them. When asked what Jinn thought of his presence, JD admitted that she didn't know and that Fahz turned out to not be so bad after all and had come to help too. Though Garron Paduk agreed to allow them to help, he would only deal with Kait, not JD. JD reiterated that he was only there to help and called out to Baird who ignored JD and walked away to his obvious distress.
To Fahz's annoyance, the group revealed that they couldn't use a Raven due to Windflares and instead had to rely on Kait and Del's Skiff. As they made their way to the Skiff, Del confronted JD over lying to them and then pushing his friends away after he got hurt like they didn't even know him. JD admitted that he knew he hadn't exactly been himself lately, but insisted that the JD that had come to help was their friend, not Captain Fenix. Fahz confirmed this, stating that he'd tried to convince him to embrace Dark JD but Kait and Del brought out the best in their friend.
Battle of Old Ephyra
Personality and Traits
Unlike his father Marcus, JD is an idealist who wanted to live his life with a purpose. He is very loyal and protective towards his friends and family, leaving the COG with Del simply because JD trusted Del's judgement about the COG and wanting to cover Del's back, as well as comforting Kait during their mission to find her kidnapped mother while also easing her misperceived guilt over getting Marcus involved in finding her.
JD had a strained relationship with his father partially due to Marcus' displeasure at JD for joining the COG against the formers insistence as Marcus had come to be even more distrustful of the COG and it’s totalitarian policies under Mina Jinn. The relationship was strained further when JD deserted COG despite being warned by Marcus that he would be hunted down as a deserter, although he agreed to hold onto JD and Del’s equipment in the event of their return. This would seemingly prove to be the final straw as Marcus initially refused to help JD any longer when he returned home and only relented when JD showed him possible proof of the Locust's return. Despite becoming further frustrated with JD following the attack on the Stroud Estate, Marcus agreed to help JD and his friends with their quest to save their friends. Despite their differences, JD cared for Marcus deeply and raced to find his father when Marcus was captured by a Snatcher.
Much like his parents, JD is a natural soldier who is cool and collected when under fire. He is an effective leader much like his father, easily calming down his teammates and sticking to the objective even after Marcus is captured by the Swarm. Although he technically outranks his father, JD generally had no qualms with taking orders from him due to his vast experience in fighting the Locust. However, JD did not always see eye to eye with Marcus during missions as JD one point openly went against him during their mission to Azura to launch a Hammer of Dawn satellite. Marcus would state after the mission in Azura that JD has a bad tendency to prove himself rather than focus on the mission, which has threatened the lives of himself and his squadmates.
After the revelation of his actions during the Settlement 2 Protest Massacre and his injury, JD became a colder more by the book individual who was distrusted by his friends who he had pushed away. Fahz Chutani dubbed this version of JD "Dark JD." In addition, despite previously having been at odds with Fahz, the two became close friends. When Oscar Diaz was killed in the Siege of Riftworm Village, JD refused to take the time to let Kait mourn her uncle despite having been friends with the man himself and insisted upon bringing everyone back to New Ephyra as Jinn wanted. JD was less than pleased by Kait and Del's rogue mission to find answers about the Swarm rather than supporting them in it as JD would've in the past. Kait and Del were left wondering what happened to their friend to cause such a drastic change in personality and if JD would ever be himself again.
Following Kait and Del's Mission to Mount Kadar Laboratory and JD finding out what they had learned there, he had a change of heart about his behavior and traveled to Vasgar with Fahz to help them out. JD showed remorse for his behavior and the hurt that he had caused his friends and insisted that he had only come to help even though he knew they didn't trust him and with good reason. Fahz confirmed that JD's change of heart was genuine, stating that he'd tried to get JD to embrace "Dark JD" but something about Kait and Del brought out the best in their friend.
If Kait saved JD instead of Del from Queen Reyna, JD becomes deeply distraught by his best friend's death and repeatedly apologizes to his fallen comrade while he tearfully clutched his COG tags. He becomes highly aggressive and takes his anger out on the Swarm for killing Del, rushing into battle. He is later silently consoled by Marcus after initially brushing him off as Marcus had gone through the same tragedy when Dom had sacrificed himself.
- JD is a playable multiplayer character for the COG in Gears of War 4, and has seven unlockable character skins, excluding his Armored skin: Color Blast, Day of the Dead, Lieutenant Fenix, Outsider, Ugly Gearsmas Armor, Vintage, and Zombie. His Lieutenant Fenix skin is only available in the COG Officer Gear Pack, his Ugly Gearsmas Armor skin is only available in the Gearsmas Gear Pack, his Vintage skin is only available via the Vintage JD Gear Pack as part of the Season Pass, and his Zombie skin is exclusive to a Totino's Pizza Rolls promotional bonus.
- Five additional community skins, designed by international artists, were released for free for anyone who had played Gears of War 4 before December 31st, 2016: David Nash, Lindsay Elyse, Mike Sandoval, Nanami Cowdroy, and Ricardo Garcia.
- JD is a playable launch multiplayer character in Gears 5 on the COG team.
Behind the scenes
- JD Fenix is voiced by Liam McIntyre.
- The concept of JD (as a son of Marcus Fenix) existed as early as Epic Games's original version of Gears of War 4.
- The Gears of War official website provided a cosplay guide for JD, located here.
- In 39 A.E. he joined the military
- Game Informer: Character Breakdown: Meet The New Gears
- Gears of War Cosplay Guide: JD
- Game Informer: Exclusive Reveal: Meet The New Cast Of Gears Of War 4
- Gears of War 4: Collector's Edition Guide, page 6
- As revealed in dialogue spoken in Act V, Chapter 2: Killing Time, where JD refers to Cole as "Uncle Cole" and Baird stated he gave toys to JD
- Gears of War 4: Collector's Edition Guide, page 11
- COG Officer Gear Pack
- Gears of War 4: Collector's Edition Guide, page 6-7
- Gears of War 4: Act I
- Gears of War 4: Act II
- Gears of War 4: Act III
- Gears of War 4: Act IV
- Gears of War 4: Act V
- Gears of War: Ascendance
- Gears 5: Act I: Shot in the Dark
- Gears 5: Act I: Diplomacy
- Gears 5: Act III: Fighting Chance
- Gears 5: Act II: Recruitment Drive
- Gears 5: Act II: The Source of It All
- Game Informer: Details On Epic’s Abandoned Vision For Gears Of War 4