Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. Gambit, has become one of Marvel’s most popular X-Men. The anti-hero made his comic book debut in 1990, but it was 1991’s volume of X-Men – by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee – that would really put him on the map. The Ragin’ Cajun was a regular in the title, earning a spot on the X-Men’s Blue Team, and then received another popularity boost when he became a primary character in the classic 1992 show X-Men: The Animated Series. Over two decades later, Channing Tatum is now tasked with bringing Remy to life on the big screen. Gambit has already been spotted in movies – his name was mentioned in X2 and he was played by Taylor Kitsch in X-Men Origins: Wolverine – but now the mutant’s getting his very own big screen adventure.
While many know Gambit’s a smooth talker who loves to throw explosive cards at his enemies, there’s much more to learn about him. Whether it’s his dramatic origin story or how his mutant ability offers so much more than making things go boom, we want to make sure you have a good understanding of this X-Man before his movie opens in theaters. So, we’ve put together 10 Facts You Need To Know About Gambit. If there’s a fact about Gambit that you think moviegoers need to know, please share it in the comments.
He Teams Up With Storm In His First Full Appearance
Gambit made a cameo in X-Men Annual #14, but he made his full debut in Chris Claremont and Mike Collins’ The Uncanny X-Men #266. Storm – reverted to a younger version of herself and without a proper handle on her abilities – is trapped in a mansion, struggling to escape the Shadow King, a powerful, telepathic villain who enjoys possessing people. After a fight, Storm is knocked off of a balcony and goes plummeting into a pool. The impact knocks her out, but luckily for her, Gambit happens to be in the area – because he was stealing from the very same mansion! The brand new X-Man pulls Storm from the water, and that kind act forever changes his life. Not only does he help her elude the clutches of the Shadow King and Nanny (another villain who enjoys mental manipulation), but the two become great friends after they go to New Orleans and spend some time stealing from bad guys and giving to those in need. If Gambit never bumped into Storm, he likely would have never become a member of the X-Men.
Fun fact: Gambit is known for throwing cards, but in #266, he carries daggers. It’s not until the next issue that he uses a card as a weapon. Additionally, Gambit wields a broomstick as a weapon at one point, which is the first time his skill with a staff is displayed. Lastly, this is when Gambit started calling Storm “Stormy”… a nickname she doesn’t like.
He Attempted To Stop A Mutant Massacre
The mutant massacre is a horrifying part of the Marvel 616 universe (which was the primary universe before the current Secret Wars event changed everything). The Marauders – an evil team that includes Wolverine’s most popular villain, Sabretooth – slaughters the Morlocks, a society of mutants living in the sewers. The bloodbath takes many lives and injures several heroes – most notably Warren Worthington III, a.k.a. Angel – and it’s eventually revealed that Mr. Sinister was responsible for the disturbingly violent act. However, it is Gambit who assembled the team and led them straight to the community of innocent, outcast mutants. Gambit may not be as noble as Captain America, but the decision came during an emotionally dark point in his life. Even then, Gambit knew something was wrong with the plan, but he assumed it would be something like stealing – not genocide.
When Gambit sees the true nature of the mission, he tries to prevent the Marauders from going through with it. Once the team knows that Remy is standing in their way, Sabretooth severely injures him. Before fleeing the terrible scene, Gambit saves one young mutant who would eventually join the X-Men: Marrow. When it is finally revealed what Gambit did, Rogue deserts him in Antarctica. Gambit eventually returns to the team, but the discovery impacted how Rogue views him and causes a lot of emotional turmoil between the two.
His Mutant Powers Include More Than Creating Explosions
Gambit’s mutant ability is to tap into anything – or anyone’s – energy and then turn it into kinetic energy. When the object is charged, it can become explosive or output the kinetic energy – whether it’s timed or via impact. Gambit has displayed the ability to control just how powerful of a blast the charge produces; these can range from knocking someone out to collapsing a structure. Another variable is the target’s mass – basically, the bigger the object, the bigger the boom. It’s also worth noting that he’s a very gifted marksman with throwing weapons, having no trouble hitting multiple targets at once or pulling off very challenging throws. His mutant ability not only allows him to generate small to large explosions, it also blesses him with impressive physicality. He’s jaw-droppingly agile – proving regularly to be a character that not many can hit with projectile weapons – and his reflexes are so fast that he has no issue catching an explosive projectile fired from a gun, or blocking several shots in a row with his bo staff. He’s nimble enough to keep up with Daredevil and quick enough to casually catch a thrown knife.
Remy’s mutant power also takes smooth-talking to a whole new level: he has an ability called hypnotic charm. This allows him to captivate someone and temporarily influence them to agree with him or follow along with what he’s saying. Think a light version of the Jedi mind trick – but with a Cajun accent – and that’s the gist of it. Combined with his expert skills as a thief, this ability has come in handy quite a few times. Channing Tatum has implied the hypnotic charm ability will play a role in the movie, too. Lastly, Gambit’s also heavily defended against mental attacks, and this has given the likes of Psylocke and even Professor X difficultly when searching his mind.
He Got Married To Prevent a Guild War
When Gambit was a child, he survived by picking pockets on the streets of New Orleans. One day, he happened to steal from the head of the Thieves Guild. Instead of punishing the child, the man adopted Gambit and the Thieves Guild became Remy’s home. He eventually falls in love with a girl named Bella Donna Boudreaux, who just so happens to be the daughter of the head of the Assassins Guild – which is a rival group. The two guilds have been at war for quite some time, but they realize that marrying these two lovebirds could bring about peace between the two factions. After the wedding, Bourdreaux’s outraged brother, Julien, challenges Remy to a duel. Gambit agrees and accidentally kills his opponent. Needless to say, that complicates matters. From there, he was forced to leave New Orleans, but the truce would remain intact. Bella Donna wanted to go with Gambit, but he refused because, deep down, he knew she’d eventually want to be with her family, and that’s something he couldn’t provide.
Gambit’s wife later appears when some of the X-Men battle the Brood (a not-so-friendly alien race) and it turns out that she has psychic abilities. She’s believed to be dead after helping them in the conflict, but she’s really just in a coma. That story is later fleshed out in Gambit’s first four-issue limited series – a story which sees Remy (and Rogue) returning to New Orleans and is sure to be mandatory reading for the upcoming movie. Gambit loved Bella Donna and she loved him, but ultimately, his heart belongs to Rogue.
He Beat Wolverine With Trickery (Twice)
James Howlett, a.k.a. Wolverine, is one of the most gifted fighters on Earth. He may sometimes choose to scream and flail with his adamantium claws, but when he doesn’t feel like letting his healing factor do all of the work and/or give into rage, his knowledge of martial arts is superb. Remy, on the other hand, is a skilled fighter when it comes to savate and stick fighting, but it’s clear that Logan is the better unarmed combatant. But who ever said Remy would simply face Wolverine in a fair, straightforward fight?
In The Uncanny X-Men #273, Gambit and Wolverine go toe-to-toe in the Danger Room. After several minutes of dodging each other, Gambit used the Danger Room to his advantage and made Lady Deathstrike appear. When Wolverine’s attention was diverted, Gambit took him down with a few bo staff hits. But the physical strikes didn’t hurt Wolverine nearly as much as the verbal hit did. (“Bang. You dead,” Gambit said as he stood over his defeated ally.) Gambit once again bested Wolverine by using outside sources to trick Wolverine in Contest of Champions II. To be fair, Wolverine has defeated Gambit, too, but seeing as this is Gambit’s list, we won’t embarrass him by going into details.
Seriously Complicated Relationship With Rogue
Imagine love at first sight – you see someone and you just know they’re going to be the one. Now imagine you can’t touch each other; one of you is hiding a seriously dark, life-changing secret and is technically still married; a shape-shifting relative tries to sabotage the relationship; and there’s a surreal universe full of crazy events that throws several weird variables your way on a regular basis – like a cosmic wave that’ll seemingly mean the end of the planet, or a villain creating an over-the-top trial to force secrets out of your significant other. Odds are the relationship would have some difficulty along the way, wouldn’t it? That’s pretty much the long and complicated case between Gambit and Anna Marie, a.k.a. Rogue.
The two grew to love one another and they share many happy memories (like a very short ride to their first date, before it was violently interrupted), but something almost always stood in the way of lasting happiness. From Rogue’s mutant power – absorbing someone’s psyche and powers with a touch, and them growing out of control – making her afraid to touch the man she loves, to Gambit refusing to truly open up about his past, the two have an emotional and rocky history. When Gambit was finally forced into telling her the truth about his dark history – he previously offered to let her touch his hand to see everything for herself, but she refused – she left him, despite still loving him. Later on, the two would become (temporarily) depowered and attempt to live together, but their crazy world eventually brought them back to the X-Men (“Just when I thought I was out…”) and restored their powers. Even when Rogue had the ability to touch other people, she wasn’t with him and instead had a brief relationship with Magneto. Poor, poor Remy. Even in the Ultimate Marvel universe, Gambit died protecting Rogue from Juggernaut. The two will always love each other, but there’s enough drama and complications here to fill an entire season of Jerry Springer.
His Full Potential Powers Are Very Dangerous
On an alternate Earth, Gambit – who eventually goes by the names New Sun/Son – becomes so powerful that he’s able to defeat the Phoenix, and he eventually causes the destruction of every other living being on his planet. (Way to go, alternate Remy.) This version of him is absurdly powerful, being able to control molecules via just a look; he can even travel between dimensions. At one point, the 616 version of Gambit has Mr. Sinister reduce his powers, rightfully fearing that he doesn’t have proper control of them. That fear would soon fade and Gambit has shown exceptional control over his mutant abilities, although he’s not nearly as powerful as his counter-part from the other Earth.
There have been contradictory statements about whether or not Gambit can charge organic materials (Avengers vs. X-Men implied he could not); however, there have been several instances showing he can, like the time he powered up Sebastian Shaw or blew up Daken’s arm. It doesn’t seem likely that Tatum’s Gambit will ever reach the power levels New Son/Sun displayed or that the alternate version will be involved down the road, but when Remy decides to not hold back, he can unleash quite a lot of power. Fingers crossed the spinoff movie shows just how powerful he can be with something as simple as playing cards or even chewing gum. (That’s right, Gambit has charged gum, while it’s in his mouth, and spat it at his enemy.)
He Chose to Become Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death
When the mutant population drops by around 90%, Apocalypse (villain of the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse) steps forward with a new plan to assist his fellow mutants. The X-Men are immediately skeptical (and understandably so) of the villain’s emergence, and Gambit does something selfless in order to protect his friends: he agrees to become Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death. While Apocalypse thinks Remy undergoes the process because he feels ignored by the X-Men and believes Apocalypse’s plan is the right path, Gambit reveals he’s doing it because he loves the X-Men. He says that Apocalypse’s side – and now with the ability to release and alter toxic gases – is the best place to be in case Apocalypse needs to be taken out. When undergoing the painful procedure to become Death, Gambit refuses pain killers for the violent transformation, claiming he wants to be fully aware of what they’re doing to him.
While Gambit was temporarily on Apocalypse’s side, part of him remembered his former life and his love for Rogue – he even threatens to kill Apocalypse when the big villain grabs him by the throat, and it wasn’t an idle threat, either. Gambit struggles with the death persona for a little while and a fellow horseman of Apocalypse, Sunfire, helps him recover from the foe’s brainwashing. Gambit no longer has those abilities and, so far, it looks like he will not be one of Apocalypse’s horsemen in X-Men: Apocalypse.
He Beat Gladiator Using a Deck of Cards
Kallark, a.k.a. Gladiator, is one of the Marvel Universe’s many cosmic powerhouses. His formidable strength, durability, and speed means that he’s a character few should take lightly. So, when Gladiator’s goes after Gambit in The Uncanny X-Men #276, one assumes it’s a very one-sided match that’ll be quickly resolved. However, thanks to other characters involved in the scene and his swift nature, Gambit is able to elude Gladiator’s grasp.
The next time they meet (in #277), Gambit isn’t so fortunate. As Gladiator approached Gambit, the X-Man knew this was someone he couldn’t underestimate. When Gladiator gets close, Gambit unleashes a whole deck of cards right into the powerhouse’s gut. It’s not exactly one of Gladiator’s finer moments, but it sure did give Gambit fans bragging rights.
He Sided Against the X-Men in Messiah CompleX
Remy has done some shady things in the past, but time and time again, he’s proven to be a good guy. However, after becoming Death, he went back to siding with the Marauders. When the X-Men event Messiah CompleX began – which places the X-Men, Mr. Sinister’s forces, and others at odds as all they race to claim a newborn mutant – Gambit stays with the villains. Rogue is in a coma, and Mystique believes that making Rogue touch the baby – which is named Hope – will heal her, but kill the baby. When Gambit discovers the details of Mystique’s plan, he is shocked and doesn’t agree with it, firmly believing that Rogue would rather remain in a coma than take the life of an innocent child.
Mystique is still able to fulfill her plan (as well as betray Mr. Sinister) and, thankfully, Hope was perfectly fine and helps Rogue wake from her coma. After all that Remy went through in the event – including getting stabbed by Wolverine – his story concludes with Rogue walking away and saying, “If you still care for me, Remy… don’t follow me.” Seeing as he would do anything for her, he respects her wish. He’d later go on to help Professor X and once again become a member of the X-Men.
These are just some of the many facts you need to know about Gambit. Despite Remy making his debut in comics not too long ago (1990), he’s still managed to have a pretty rich mythos.
So, if you want to feel like a Gambit guru when seeing his first movie, we strongly recommend reading at least his first volume – it’s just four issues! If you believe a mandatory fact was left out of the article, share it with your fellow Screen Ranters in the comments below!
Gambit opens in theaters on October 7, 2016.