The past year has seen much of the X-Men movie universe head in a new direction. Both X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool were filmed (after numerous years of development woes for Deadpool), while Hugh Jackman confirmed the next Wolverine solo film will be his last outing as the character.
In spite of all that, one X-Men project in particular has had great difficulty getting off the ground — that project being Gambit. Channing Tatum, who has been set to play the character for quite some time, nearly dropped out after the creative team hit a roadblock. On top of that, Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) — who was initially set to direct — departed due to what was initially cited as a simple scheduling conflict, but was later revealed to be creative differences.
Nonetheless, it’s been nearly two months since Wyatt left Gambit, and a replacement still has yet to be found. Last we heard, directors Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow), Shane Black (Iron Man 3), and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) were in contention for the gig, but now it seems Fox may have finally made their choice.
THR reports that, after meeting with a number of directors over the past few months, Doug Liman is in final negotiations to take over directing duties on Gambit. Assuming Liman does indeed sign on, this would mark one of his most high-profile projects yet, although it’s definitely not his first venture into the action genre.
In fact, Liman already has several notable action films under his belt. Back in 2002 Liman kicked off the Bourne franchise with The Bourne Identity, and while it may not be as highly regarded as Paul Greengrass’ take on Bourne, that film managed to hold the camera steady, while also starting a franchise that continues to this day. Additionally, Liman also directed Go, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Jumper, and last year’s Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.
If Liman does bring those same action sensibilities to Gambit, he could be the perfect fit for such a project. Previously, it had been rumored that the estimated budget for Gambit was going to be much larger than first expected, meaning that whatever director takes it on would have to be able to handle a large production. For his part, Liman has already demonstrated he is more than capable of doing so, crafting a film that entertains and contains well-developed characters and a cohesive storyline.
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.