On the eve of Comic-Con, a flurry of ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ rumors arrive online

If I were a betting man, I’d put a little money down on the possibility of 20th Century Fox featuring “Days Of Future Past” at their Comic-Con panel this weekend.

For one thing, it’s the single most important franchise that the studio owns at the moment. They are determined to figure out how to keep “X-Men” movies churning out for the near future, and a big part of that game plan is getting this next movie right. Sure, they’re hoping “The Wolverine” is a hit with audiences, but the one that has to work is “Days Of Future Past.” After all, it’s based on arguably the biggest storyline to ever be published in that series, and if they do get it right, they’ll be able to cross their original trilogy with the rebooted “First Class” in a way that means it is all part of one big series.

For another thing, the secret seems to not be terribly secret at this point. The only titles that Fox has officially announced for the panel are “The Wolverine” and “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,” and even in private correspondence, they are playing very coy about the notion of “Days Of Future Past” showing up there. The thing is, speaking as someone who’s seen “The Wolverine,” they are definitely going to bait the hook for next summer’s mega-sequel in that film, and it would make perfect sense to really start the push now.

One thing that is rumored to be happening is an official acknowledgement that Peter Dinklage is playing Bolivar Trask, the man who created the Sentinels. I remember when Tom Rothman famously told the creative team behind the first three films that he would never allow anyone to put giant robots in any “X-Men” movie as long as he was at the studio. The closest they came was that gag at the start of “The Last Stand,” and even there, they were under strict orders not to get too specific. I’m not sure why Rothman had such a problem with the idea of giant robots (he must have loved “Pacific Rim” this weekend), but he was adamant that we would never see the Sentinels. Now we’re going to see perhaps the most famous storyline that involves them, and I’m very curious to see how the adaptation works out.

According to Vulture, there are some pretty big differences here, and it sounds like at least one of them was made to keep Wolverine front and center. I can’t imagine we’ll see many more films where Hugh Jackman plays this character, so they’re going to get the most mileage out of him that they can while he’s still onboard. I’m a little baffled by the rumor that Josh Helman will be playing a young Bill Stryker. This is after he’s been played by both Brian Cox and Danny Huston. Is Stryker now the single most important villain in the entire “X-Men” series? Do we really need a third actor to play the part?

As you can see in the photo embedded above, Lucas Till is also now confirmed to be returning. He played Havok in “First Class,” and it looks like he’s gone military in the image that Bryan Singer revealed today.

I think this sounds like it could either be the epic that ties the whole X-Men universe together, or an overly busy disaster, but I doubt it’ll be anything less than memorable. We’ll have news on this and everything else that happens at the San Diego Comic-Con starting here tomorrow, so check it out.

“X-Men: Days Of Future Past” arrives in theaters May 23, 2014.