John H. Wyles, better known as Johnny, is a major character in To the Moon and the widowed husband of River Wyles. The majority of the game focuses on traversing his memories to fulfill his wish to go to the moon.
Johnny is one of the twin sons of a seemingly single mother, Martha Wyles. His brother's name was Joey. He often felt that his mother favored his brother over him, but Joey always tried to console him and they maintained a close bond as twin brothers.
One night, their mother took them to a carnival, where Johnny played whack-a-mole and won a platypus toy. After they ate, Johnny decided to venture out of the carnival area by himself. He stumbled across a spot perfect for stargazing and proceeded to take in the view, before he meets River, who had left the carnival to escape the noise and stargaze. The two spoke about the stars, and made a rabbit constellation using the moon as its belly. Before leaving, Johnny gave River the platypus toy he'd won earlier, as well as his hacky sack. They agreed to meet there again the next year, and that if one of them were to get lost or they got separated, they would regroup on the moon.
Some time later, Joey was killed when Martha accidentally hit him with her car while in a rush to go to the store. To help Johnny cope with trauma, he was prescribed a large amount of enhanced beta-blockers, a heart medication which could suppress memories as a side effect. It resulted in him forgetting his past, including the existence of his twin brother as well as his meeting with River.
His mother didn't take the beta-blockers, however, and the event of her killing her son drove her "a little cuckoo" and she started treating Johnny as if he were his dead brother. As a result, the things Joey liked were forced onto him, such as his fondness for the Animorphs book series and a liking for pickled olives.
Reunion with River
Later, Johnny happened to go to the same high school as River, who turned out to be an outcast among her peers due to her inability to socialize. He became attracted towards her, but didn't know why due to his memory loss. He would then attribute his attraction to the fact that she was different from most people, and that he'd always wanted to be different.
He confessed this to his best friend, Nicolas, who strongly disapproved of his views. Nicolas suggested that River might want to fit in like everyone else but didn't have the choice, and that Johnny's opinion about her would only make it harder for her. Johnny pressed on, stating that he wanted her because she had what he needed, to which Nicolas said it was ‘cold' of him.
Despite that, Nicolas supported him when he finally attempted to ask River out on a movie date. It went very awkwardly, but luckily for Johnny, River said yes. He and River would then begin a relationship together.
As they became young adults, River was diagnosed with a high-functioning autism spectrum disorder known as the Asperger syndrome, which is indicated by significant difficulties in social interaction. However, Johnny refused to learn more about her condition. He never mentioned why, but it's likely that it was because he still wanted to believe that River was truly special and didn't care if the condition had made her what she was.
They eventually got married by a lighthouse which they agreed to call "Anya". During their late adulthood, Johnny confessed and apologized to River that the reason he approached her back in high school was that he had wanted to become 'different' by being with someone 'different'. When Johnny referred to it as their first meeting, River became confused and asked him if he would throw away the hacky sack he'd given her at the carnival (but she didn't say anything about it). He threw it away like it was nothing, and she realized that Johnny did not remember their true first encounter at all.
And so, she started making origami rabbits in an attempt to make him remember the constellation they'd made, as being on the autism spectrum made it difficult for her to express her thoughts and emotions in direct conversation. She would ask Johnny multiple times what he thought about the rabbits, though her efforts would be in vain. Over time, Johnny began to feel that those rabbits meant something, but he just couldn't remember what it was.
The cliff house and River's death
Later, Johnny planned to build a house next to Anya, much to River's delight. The plan came to fruition and the construction went underway when they were middle-aged. However, as the house was being built, River was diagnosed with a late-stage terminal illness, and they were unable to pay for both her medical bills and the construction. In short, it was either the house or River's life.
Johnny tried to convince his wife that they would be able to afford both, but to no avail — River knew they couldn't and declined the treatment. She told Johnny he could do whatever he wanted with the money, but hoped that he would finish the house as she didn't want Anya to be lonely. She then gave him a unique origami rabbit which had two colors, blue and yellow, representing the moon and the starry night sky forming the constellation. It would fail to remind Johnny once again, and he dismissed her. Johnny then performed a song he composed, 'For River', on the piano.
In the end, Johnny complied to her wish and completed the house's construction. River passed away before the house was finished. She was buried next to Anya, and Johnny wondered who was going to look after him and Anya now that River was gone.
During his elderly years, Johnny hired a woman named Lily as a cleaner, whom he allowed to stay in his house along with her two children Tommy and Sarah. She later became his caretaker as his health deteriorated.
Ever since River died, Johnny became obsessed with the idea of going to the moon due to his subconscious desire to keep the promise he made to River all those years ago, but was unable to do so due to his age. He decided to hire the Sigmund Corporation to grant him one last wish: to go to the moon. The way the company fulfilled memories was by permanently changing their clients' memories, so the procedure had to be carried out as Johnny was on death's door. Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts were assigned to work on his case.
The procedure resulted in new memories where his brother Joey never died and River disappeared when he was about to ask her on their first date. With River getting "lost", his subconscious yearning to go to the moon surfaces and he became completely motivated to become an astronaut. Eventually, he managed to become a recruit at NASA. Meanwhile, his brother turned out to be a successful author, and one of his novels was titled "To the Moon: The story about a lameduck's attempt to become an astronaut". Joey would later explain that it was a story about his brother with a "less optimistic ending".
While Johnny was given a tour at NASA, he was finally reunited with River, who also became a fellow recruit on their mission to the moon. They would once again form a romance, get married, build the cliff house and live there together. In the final scene in his memories, he and River were aboard the space shuttle with the moon in plain sight. As the present Johnny's mind faded, River offered her hand to him, and he took it.
The song "For River" is called "To The Moon" in Johnny's altered memory.
Johnny has a medium skin tone, short brown hair, and brown eyes. He typically wears green and brown clothing. As an adult and onward, he often wore a brown vest over a long-sleeved khaki shirt, green pants, and brown shoes. He also grew a goatee, and with age, his hair and facial hair turned gray.
- Main article: River Wyles
River is Johnny's autistic wife who passed away before Johnny's memory alteration procedure was commenced. She first met Johnny at a carnival during their childhood. After stargazing and creating the rabbit constellation, they promised to visit the carnival again the following year. Before they parted ways, Johnny gave her a platypus plush toy, which she would treasure for the rest of her life. Sadly, Johnny would lose all of his memories after being administered a large dose of beta-blockers following the death of his twin brother, and he forgot all about her. They would later go to the same high school, where Johnny asked her out and dated with her. Johnny still had a vague impression that she was special, and assumed it was due to her autism, never realizing that she was someone he had met before.
After their marriage, Johnny would struggle to cope with her condition; likewise, River eventually realized that Johnny didn't remember her from the carnival, and continuously tried to remind him of their childhood, but her condition inhibited her ability to communicate and she was never successful. Johnny later told her that he would build a house near the lighthouse where they had been betrothed, to River's ecstatic reaction. However, River would fall ill during the house's construction, and getting treatment for her would mean cancelling the building. Johnny didn't want her to refuse treatment, so he lied to her that they had enough money for both. River responded by saying she disliked white lies, and wished that he would finish building the house. She passed away before the house was finished.
- Main article: Joey Wyles
Joey was Johnny's twin brother who died as a child. His mother was rushing to the store, and in her haste, she had hit him with her car while he was playing with a soccer ball. His death resulted in Johnny being administered a large dose of beta-blockers, a heart medication whose side effect was the suppression of memories, which made him forget his past entirely. While Joey was alive, they maintained a good relationship, despite some major differences. Johnny envied him for being the favorite child of their mother, though Joey always tried to console him. Joey had an affinity for science fiction and wanted to become a writer for the genre, which Johnny found ridiculous.
Joey's death affected Johnny in many ways. Not only was he administered the beta blockers and forgot about his meeting with River, but apparently due to his mother's denial of having killed the favorite child, many of Joey's likings were also imposed upon him, such as that of pickled olives and the novel series Animorphs. His mother even called him "Joey", which Johnny thought was just a nickname, after his grandfather's name.
- Main article: Nicolas
Nicolas was a close friend of Johnny whom he has known since middle school. He was the one who encouraged Johnny to ask River out on a date, despite previously having expressed his distaste towards Johnny wanting River because of what she had, not what she was (Johnny struggled to tell him the real reason he was attracted to her due to his memory loss). Johnny would still keep in touch with him as they approached old age, when he consulted Nicolas' friend, Isabelle, on how to cope with River's condition.
- Main article: Isabelle
Isabelle became acquainted with Johnny through Nicolas. He had consulted her on how to cope with River's autism since she also was diagnosed with it.
- Main article: Lily Quinn
Lily Quinn was hired by Johnny as his cleaner (and later caregiver) some time after River's death. Per the events of To the Moon, she had worked for Johnny for a year. She has two children, Tommy and Sarah. She would inherit Johnny's house after he passed away.
- Unlike other characters, different sprites of Johnny have different eye and skin colors.