Ain’t It Cool broke the story that Christian Bale was in Terminator 4, playing John Connor, one of my sources became confused. That couldn’t be true, I was told – John Connor is barely in the movie. Turns out that it’s true, and that yes, John Connor is barely in the movie. Over the last week I have been gathering some details about Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, and while I am trying to steer clear of serious spoiler material, people who don’t want to know anything about this movie should step away from the computer right now.

John Connor is not the main character of Terminator 4; that character is someone named Marcus. Marcus was put ‘out of commission’ before the nuclear holocaust on Judgment Day and he wakes up about 15 years before the future we see in the original Terminator films, which puts the movie at about 2015 or so. Marcus is a bad ass – think along the lines of Riddick – and what he finds is a blasted world filled with horror. Radiation poisoning, starvation, rampant jaywalking – all the things you expect post-apocalypse. There’s also John Connor, who is trying to build a utopian society while running the human resistance.

Connor’s role is apparently bigger in the second film; whoever they hire for Marcus (my understanding is that the part is not yet cast) will be around for all three films. Terminator 4 is going to be the most male-centric of all the Terminator films, but there is a butt busting female character by the name of Blair, a pilot for the human resistance.

They’re going to need some buttkickers, because the scope of the action in Terminator 4 is HUGE. Lots of machine action in this film, including some battles with the T-600s. Yup, the rubber skin Terminators. And there’s another familiar character that shows up – Reese shows up in a scene with John Connor. I don’t know what his involvement in the next two films will be, though.

Finally, here’s a story point that’s probably a legitimate spoiler (although it’s sort of the main crux around which the story revolves, so it will probably get blown in the advertising), so I’ll invisotext this stuff: A big aspect of the story is the degrees of difference between a human and a Terminator. By which I mean cyborgs. By which I mean human brains in robot bodies.

I’ve gathered this info from a number of different sources, and while they all have different takes on the material (all mostly positive, with one of my sources saying that the story is great and that the action promises to be incredible), they all bring up one point of comparison: The Matrix films. Make of that what you will. For me, the information I’ve gotten – including really spoilery stuff I won’t inflict on you – has gotten me jazzed. This film feels like it could be epic and erase the taste of the workmanlike T3 from my mouth. Let’s hope McG can pull this off.