20th Century Fox will release three Marvel movies in 2016: Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Gambit. As more and more information continues to be released about Tim Miller’s Deadpool and Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, Gambit is still in pre-production and not much is yet known about the Ragin’ Cajun’s solo movie. Gambit’s lead actor, Channing Tatum, has been passionate about the X-Men spin-off movie, but the studio has yet to find the right director.
Rupert Wyatt, the director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was set to helm, but he’s no longer directing the project because of creative differences. With Gambit’s release date of October, 2016 quickly approaching, the studio clearly needs to land a director soon. Now, it’s looking like Tatum and the studio have their sights set on a director who has proven to be more than capable of handling action sequences.
According to The Wrap’s Jeff Sneider, Channing Tatum – the man who will play Remy LeBeau a.k.a. Gambit, and also produce the film – has been courting Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman. Whether or not Liman will accept the job is, of course, unclear, yet given how soon production will need to begin, the odds are good that an announcement about Gambit’s director will be made soon enough.
Wyatt reportedly left because he and Fox couldn’t agree on how to handle Gambit’s first solo film. Given all of the reports about the negative experiences between Fantastic Four director Josh Trank and Fox, it’s obvious the studio is seeking a director who can offer a more collaborative experience – someone who shares their vision and won’t want to go in a direction that may be deemed too controversial. The last thing the studio wants is another Fantastic Four on their hands (i.e. a project that receives abysmal reviews and bombs at the box office), especially since Tatum’s Gambit could be the start of a brand new Marvel franchise for the studio – if it does well, that is.
With X-Men: Apocalypse marking the “culmination” of that particular storyline and Hugh Jackman claiming he’ll stop portraying Wolverine after 2017’s Wolverine, the studio could certainly use a new batch of successful comic book franchises if it wants to compete with Marvel Studios/Disney and Warner Bros./DC. Thankfully, Miller’s Deadpool is looking like it’s heavily inspired by the anti-hero’s source material and it has the potential to be something fans truly love. Only time will tell if Gambit receives the same kind of treatment, or if it decides to play it safe and feels like a more “generic” comic book movie.
Deadpool opens February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.