|First appearance||Faction Zero|
|Debut||September 1, 2009|
|Known ability||Temporal rewind|
|Home||New York, NY|
|Residence||Apartment on 44th Street|
|Occupation||Former Company agent|
John Mulligan is a former Company agent who, during the time of Building 26, went on the run with other evolved humans. After failing to find his purpose, John teamed up with Lauren Gilmore and Noah Bennet to bring down the carnival. John is an evolved human with the ability to rewind space and time.
In chapter 3 of Faction Zero, Rachel comes to a hideout of evolved humans, and sees John in the kitchen, together with a skinny guy, a large guy, and a fugitive mother. John attacks Rachel but Rachel teleports out of the way. After her attempt to take down the skinny guy fails, Rachel tries talking to John, and John says that they are a faction of ex-fugitives from Building 26. John informs Rachel that their leader, Markus Gaines, is on a mission to retrieve information from a young lady in Costa Verde. Realizing that Claire is in danger, Rachel immediately teleports away without another word.
In chapter 4 of Slow Burn, John is among a group that Gail Bowman and Edgar are sent to recruit into the Sullivan Bros. Carnival. When a fight is about to break out between the two groups, Gail recognizes John, who is surprised to see her, as he had covered his tracks so no one could find him. John tells Gail he thought she went underground after Wildman went crazy. After the group, Gail, and Edgar go into the groups abandonded army bunker, Gail offers them the chance to join the carnival, but they all refuse, saying they know where they belong.
In chapter 1 of Purpose John wanders through New York, pleased that his time on the run is finally over and about how well he is simply blending into the crowd. John then contemplates what he should do and remembers that before Building 26, he was a skilled Company agent. John compares his current situation to college and trying to choose a major. Deciding that he needs a walk to clear his head, John decides to go to Manhattan. While there, he sees a woman step onto the road, right into the path of a taxi. John then rewinds time in order to save the woman and wonders whether or not saving people is his path.
When John goes to the park, he encounters Ian, a former target of his. He remembers how Ian had a normal life until his ability manifested and the Company took him. John is saddened to see that Ian is now homeless so he buys the two of them lunch. As Ian eats, John feels happy and wonders if he should spend his life helping others that he has hurt. Once again, John receives a phone call from an unknown caller. He ignores the call and goes to a job interview with Mr. Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez wonders what John did for Primatech Paper and John tells him that he was in charge of public relations. Throughout the interview, John keeps using his ability to fix any mistake he has made. At the end, Mr. Rodriguez says that they will call him.
John receives another phone call and answers the phone, asking who the caller is. Samuel Sullivan says that he has been trying to get a hold of him all day and wonders if they can meet. He suggests yesterday and John immediately says that they can meet at the park, by the pond.
In chapter 2 of Purpose, John finds a note in his pocket supposedly written by Samuel. The note talks about John's ability and how important it is to Samuel. John then wonders how he got the note and continues his tour of the carnival. Samuel offers him purpose and a new life but John is hesitant, as he believes that dangling evolved humans in front of people will eventually draw unwanted attention. He and Samuel continue walking until a man, Josh Davis, yells for Samuel to look out. John feels a bone crunching tackle as he is pushed to the floor and instantly rewinds time to avoid the attack. Angry, Josh prepares to fight again and his brother Evan tells the crowd that has gathered that John is a former agent. After the battle has been stopped, a disappointed John tries to leave the carnival.
As he gets to the gates, a little voice calls out for him. He turns and laughs joyously as little Jennie Bowman leaps into his arms. She takes him to her family and John remembers all the time he spent with Chris and Gail. He admits to himself that he has romantic feelings for Gail but that he would never act on them. When he sees that they too have been brainwashed by the carnival and Samuel, John wonders what he can do to save them. He receives a strange look from Gail and wonders if she knows how he feels about her. Jennie bursts into the room and asks if John is staying, but Chris tells her, and John, that he isn't.
Back in the city, John decides that he needs help busting his old friends out of the carnival. He calls his old company partner, Lauren Gilmore and tells her about a group of "specials". Lauren then asks if he is talking about a carnival. Knowing that Lauren is on his side, John sets off to get more help.
In chapter 3 of Purpose, John speaks with Lauren about the carnival. John explains that he was teleported to and from the carnival against his will and that Samuel had tried to recruit him. Lauren says that she and Noah have been working for weeks to try and bring the carnival down and John chuckles, playfully teasing Lauren about working with Noah. Lauren moves on and tells John about the raid they are planning, and John says that he has people he cares about at the carnival. Lauren realizes that John has a crush on someone and John refuses to go into detail. Lauren invites him to Washington and John says that he is on his way.
After hanging up, John's vision disappears. He feels for his gun and raises it, warning whoever is messing with his head that he will shoot. A menacing voice laughs and John's vision returns. He finds that he is face to face with The Watcher and raises his gun. The Watcher insists that they want similar things, Samuel hurt and the carnival stopped. He explains that he wants to work to with John. John does not wish to work with a spy and The Watcher tells him that he knows about his crush on a married woman. He goes on to say that he knows how to get to the carnival, and John accepts. The Watcher then disappears and John calls his friend Cyrus. Cyrus warns him not to team up with The Watcher and John wonders if he has done the right thing.
In chapter 4 of Purpose, John wakes up after his meeting with The Watcher. He receives a phone call from Angela Petrelli, and goes to see her. John gives his condolences for Nathan's death and Angela asks for his help protecting her son Peter. John wonders if he has a choice, as Angela has already dreamt his future. He receives a phone call from Lauren, who demands to know where he is. She explains that things went bad and John agrees to get there as soon as he can. The Watcher takes him there, and John sees that something has indeed gone wrong.
John finds a crowd gathering around Noah Bennet and Eli. However, his presence is detected by a carny woman, who "smells" that he is an agent. John rewinds time and goes to the Bowman trailer, where he finds Jennie. Jennie explains that bad things have been happening and that Chris believes that John is a bad guy. John talks with Jennie, who believes that he is not a bad man. Chris and Gail burst into the room and are both furious that John is there. Gail refuses to listen to John, as she is still reeling from the loss of Lydia. When The Watcher once again appears, Gail and Jennie flee, leaving Chris alone with John and The Watcher. Chris demands to know what John is doing with The Watcher, and John insists that Samuel is evil. Bo and Pearl arrive and Bo holds Chris back, but when John claims that he is trying to protect the family, Chris angrily exclaims that he knows about John's crush on Gail. He then launches an attack on him.
In chapter 5 of Purpose, John quickly exits the Bowman's trailer and seeks shelter behind Mrs. Comey's trailer. He notes that all the light bulbs in the area have been shattered by Pearl. Chris, Bo and Pearl pursue John and Chris taunts him to fight back. Using a waffle iron, John sees someone as a reflection and takes hurls it, narrowly missing Chris. John takes the opportunity to run but is confronted by Pearl, who has her hands clenched together like a gun. Something whizzes by John, narrowly missing his ear and continues on to shatter a sink behind him. John is blown off his feet by the blast but finds a pipe fragment from the sink. He hurls it at Pearl and hits her square in the face, causing blood to pour down as she collapses. John has no time to check if she is okay as he takes the opportunity to run, this time succeeding.
John escapes to a hillside and sits, overlooking the carnival. He contemplates his life, reflecting on words given to him by Angela Petrelli. He then decides that even though he may never know if he is a hero or villain, he must still help his friends. Deciding to find Lauren and Noah, John makes some calls but is confronted by The Watcher, whom John refers to as Henry. He discovers that "The Watcher" has been using him in order to take down Samuel. John considers this and The Watcher offers to find Lauren for him. The two decide to work together and head down to the carnival. They locate Lauren in a medical tent surrounded by Eli clones. John attacks the clones but finds that two out of three are fake. As he prepares to attack the last Eli, The Watcher instead holds him in place, allowing John to free Lauren. As they prepare to find Noah, The Watcher quickly turns on the agents but John overpowers him and has Lauren continue on to Noah alone.
As The Watcher awakens and blinds John, John quickly uses his power to rewind and fast-forward time so fast that he enters a state of pure vibration, nullifying The Watcher's nerve manipulation. The Watcher agrees to settle the problem the old fashioned way. As the two fight, John notes that he is fighting with cold Primatech logic while The Watcher is fighting with hot emotion. The two men are so engrossed in their fight they do not realize when their surroundings suddenly change. Eventually discovering that something is off, the two discover that the entire carnival is now in New York.
In chapter 6 of Purpose, John and The Watcher investigate their new surroundings and wonder why the carnival moved to Central Park. The two of them break into Samuel's trailer and overhear the carnival ringmaster talking to Emma Coolidge. When they realize exactly what he is planning, John is troubled to hear that The Watcher believes everyone should die. Using The Watcher's love for Shakespear as an inspiration, John manages to convince him that love is worth it and that he must have hope. The Watcher disappears and John receives a call from Lauren, who asks for his help.
John then goes to his old friend Tim Pope for help and gets a helicopter ride to the carnival's old location, where Lauren, Noah and Claire are waiting. While they fly back to the carnival, John wonders what he should do with his life and Noah tells both him and Claire that it is not how many times you save the world, it is who you save it for. The helicopter lands at the carnival and John remembers what Noah said. He asks Claire to find the Bowmans, and tells her about Jennie. He asks her to make sure they are safe and she says that she will.
Luaren prepares evidence for the aftermath of the attack and John rushes off to try and find Gail. He makes his way to the stage and is met by five Elis. After learning that rewinding would be useless, John discovers that he has become invisible to the Elis. The Watcher reappears and John notices that he is no longer full of hate for the world. He notices the sadness in The Watcher's eyes and leaves him alone. When the battle at the carnival is finally over, Lauren asks John to make sure Samuel gets where he is supposed to go.
Later, John knocks on a door and Gail opens it. John's heart beats very fast as Gail embraces him in a hug and she thanks him for saving her family. She begins to talk but John tells her not to, as he knows what she will say. She holds his hands and thanks him once more, and John tells her that he'll be fine and will keep busy. John then leaves Gail behind, knowing that he will probably never see her again.
In the first page of Purpose, John's Assignment Tracker is provided. There is no need for a password or username.
John has the ability to rewind time and redo/relive moments already past. According to his assignment tracker, John manifested this ability after a bad day, which he was then able to relive and fix. Most of his rewinds are limited to under an hour but the highest he has ever rewound has been 24 hours.
- iStory writer Zach Wilson noted at 9thWonders.com that he has a character in the Heroes: Survival game who appeared in the iStory before, and will be a central character in the next book. He said that the character would be revealed on Friday, December 18th, and Mulligan is the only character referenced in a message sent on that date.
- In Heroes: Survival, an event message sent on Friday, December 18, 2009, to participants in the Heroes: Survival game claims to be from "Mulligan" and to have rewound things to find out what was going on. In the game, there is a character called "Mulligan" who has the power of temporal rewind, which fits the message. This same character has a first name of "John", has John's picture for his profile photo, and is also a member of The Guardians faction. The character's biography in the game notes John as being a former Primatech agent and having been chased by Building 26.
- In many games, such as golf, being given a second chance to perform a certain move or action is commonly known as a mulligan. The practice is also sometimes referred to as a "do over."
- For other uses of John, see John (disambig).