It’s high-time for comic book superhero films and the headlines generated from Comic-Con International in July and Disney’s D23 event this weekend – let alone box office performances – speak volumes for the genre. Even with Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and The Wolverine out of the way, the fans have their eyes set on Kick-Ass 2 and this fall’s Thor: The Dark World, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what studios are producing in the coming years.

The latest rumors surround many of the highest profile upcoming projects, characters and stars and we have three new ones to share and dissect.

  • Hugh Jackman’s contract extension with the X-Men franchise
  • Jim Carrey’s cameo appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • Orlando Bloom as the next Bruce Wayne

Let’s get to it.

While on the set of The Wolverine in October I asked Hugh Jackman how he was enjoying the role after playing it so many times and if he planned to continue long-term. At the time he wasn’t officially attached to X-Men: Days of Future Past although we knew he’d be involved, but he led us believe that the three-hour workouts and extreme diet were getting tougher for the Oscar-nominated actors in his 40s and that he was excited to take a break.

His starring role in Days of Future Past seems to have given new life to the character and actor since Hugh was in his highest spirits at Comic-Con. He (and the X-Men producers) told us from the beginning that it would be down to the story and making sure that they’re keeping Wolverine fresh for Jackman to have a challenge in playing him. Rumor has it, from the questionable National Enquirer, that Fox has offered a $100 million deal to Jackman to reprise the iconic role an additional four times after X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Given Jeff Wadlow’s (Kick-Ass 2) role in developing X-Force, and Fox consultant Mark Millar teasing a major announcement about the future of the franchise within the next two years, it’s reasonable to assume they’d want to secure Jackman’s role in the series’ future. Will he continue playing Wolverine or could he become the Ultimate Marvel Comics version of the time-travelling mutant Cable?

From one crazy comic book character in Batman Forever’s villainous Riddler, to Kick-Ass 2‘s vigilante ex-mobster Colonel Stars and Stripes, Jim Carrey’s run at key (and extreme) comic book characters may be far from over. An under-the-radar and unverifiable rumor began earlier this year from a user on the SHH forums claiming that Jim Carrey had a role in Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Not long later, Spidey sleuth SevenWebHeads claimed that Carrey could be playing either Mysterio or Carnage (Cletus Kasady), potentially to setup the character for another film.

Adding some credence to the possibility, at least one Twitter user nabbed a photo with Carrey (see it here via ComicBook.com) from the set of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in March. And since the Ravencroft institute will be featured in the sequel – and its scenes were shot in March (coincidence?) – that puts Jim Carrey’s cameo (if there is one) inside Ravencroft. Kasady, a psychotic criminal, spent time at Ravencroft and when Venom’s spawn used him as a host, he became the terrifying villain Carnage.

With a Venom script having been written years ago and Sony still interested in the character – not to mention a fourth Amazing Spider-Man (that may not be about Spider-Man) confirmed, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Webb planning out the franchise’s future and laying groundwork for both Venom and Carnage. Whether or not Jim Carrey is part of those plans remains to be seen.

Arguably the biggest announcement coming out of Comic-Con 2013 was Zack Snyder’s on-stage revelation that the sequel to Man of Steel would include Batman. With Christian Bale confirming on multiple occasions that his time as Bruce Wayne is over, rumors and reports are running rampant listing candidates that Snyder, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment are looking at to wear The Dark Knight’s cape and cowl.

We have our own list of five actors who could play Batman in a ‘versus’ film, but according to London’s Express, who are hyping the British invasion of American superheroes (i.e. Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker & Henry Cavill as Clark Kent), claim that their source at Warner Bros. is saying that Orlando Bloom – another Brit – is the top contender to play Batman opposite Cavill’s Supes and may get the part before the casting call.

Bloom, who makes his return as his career-starting role Legolas in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug this fall, is 36 years old. Can you picture Bloom as Bruce Wayne?

Hugh Jackman returning as Wolverine makes sense. Whether or not him agreeing to a four-picture contract up front or that amount of money remains to be seen but he loves the character and we doubt he’ll give it up. As for Jim Carrey, we’d love to seem him play a dark and scary Carnage and make a cameo in the Spidey sequel. As for Orlando Bloom, that may be a stretch, but we hope to find out who plays Batman (and Lex Luthor!) in the near future.

Marc Webb directs The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Andrew Garfield, Chris Cooper, Dane DeHaan, Emma Stone, Felicity Jones, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti and Sally Field. Zack Snyder directions Batman vs. Superman with Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, and Diane Lane.

Bryan Singer directs X-Men: Days of Future Past with newcomers Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Boo Boo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Evan Peters, Adan Canto, Josh Helman,  along with returning stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, Lucas Till, and Daniel Cudmore. 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 releases May 2, 2014, X-Men: Days of Future Past on May 23, 2014 and Batman vs. Superman releases 2015.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your comic book movie news!