The future of the X-Men franchise is looking bright. Series vet Hugh Jackman may be hanging up the Wolverine claws in March with Logan, but there’s a lot of mutant goodness on the way. Despite the lacklustre response to X-Men: Apocalypse, a new main series film is planned, rumored to be called X-Men: Supernova, and the off-shoots will keep coming too: Deadpool 2 is in development with Ryan Reynolds and returning writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese joined by John Wick director David Leitch, while Josh Boone’s New Mutants is rumored to have built up an impressive cast.

In amongst all this forward momentum, however, there’s one project that’s seriously stalled: Gambit. Channing Tatum’s standalone movie was originally set to be released in late 2016, but has hit a series of developmental roadblocks that halted its momentum. First it looked like Tatum would drop out, then, once he finally signed on the dotted line, Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt left the project over disagreements with the studio. Edge of Tomorrow‘s Doug Liman stepped up, but he too departed the project last summer. Since then there’s been next to no word on the film’s status.

However, it hasn’t just been discreetly shelved in favour of the host of other X-movies on the way. Speaking to journalists at the Television Critics Association 2017 press tour while promoting TV series Legion, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner confirmed that Channing Tatum is indeed still attached to star in the film:

This isn’t too surprising – as Tatum only signed on properly in 2015, it’s unlikely his contract would have lapsed – but does show that Fox aren’t wanting to drop the film. Still, without a director attached, there’s not much hope for it getting off the ground anytime soon.

Gambit was a key player in X-Men: The Animated Series in the 1990s, so to an entire generation of fans he’s an essential mutant, yet in the nine-film strong X-franchise has only had a small part in a single movie. Taylor Kitsch’s take on the character was one of the less-grating elements of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which gave a fair stab at adapting the character’s kinetic-energy-manipulating powers on the big screen, so that it’s proven so difficult to get right is definitely strange. Producer Simon Kinberg said last June that the script was “very close” to being done, but they were still locking down the tone, which could have been what proved so difficult for the attached filmmakers.

It’s been almost three whole years since Tatum was first reported to be playing Remy LeBeau and while that’s given him time to improve his Cajun accent, it’s a long period of stalled development. In the same time, Ryan Reynolds and co. managed to see Deadpool from never-gonna-happen dream project to potential awards contender. Maybe Tatum should get to work on some test footage.

Source: Jarett Wieselman

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