week Harry Knowles and I both learned that Christian Bale would be in Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins. Harry’s source told him that Bale would be playing John Connor, while mine wasn’t so sure. Harry has assured me that his source is 100% ironclad reliable and certain, so I take the guy’s word that Bale is John Connor.

So why was my source so uncertain? I have to imagine that it’s because people who have read the script are telling me that John Connor is not the lead. Yes, John Connor leads the rebellion against the machines, but the new film – and apparently the new trilogy – have a different character at the center. Connor is being described to me as a more of a supporting role. I’ve now heard this from two people, one of whom has been spotlessly accurate in the past, so while I’m treating it as a rumor, I feel like it’s a damn solid one.

Bale in a supporting role sort of makes sense. He gets his payday without having to be on set for 120 days or something, and the role of John Connor gets a jolt of familiarity. Casting someone like Bale in a role like that is nice and easy shorthand for the filmmakers. And if John Connor isn’t set to make it through the whole trilogy… well, what would be more surprising than offing Christian Bale?

These mysteries should all be cleared up soon enough – I’d expect some official word on Bale and his role in the next few weeks.