Some of you may have seen a brief glimpse of the infamous “ragin’ cajun” from leaked footage of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine teaser trailer that debuted at the Fox panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.

For those who did not (and even those who did), we have the first official photo of Gambit thanks to Empire Magazine. This comes just days after a new picture of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was released.

If you didn’t see the low-quality leaked videos but you’re excited to see the trailer for this movie like me, then you’re in luck as the official trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine debuts alongside The Day The Earth Stood Still on December 12th. That’s just two weeks away!

As for the image, this particular picture does not impress me. In those clothes with that face, I don’t see Gambit anywhere. It looks like some random shot from a poker movie. I imagine he’ll look much better and should resemble the character more when in uniform working for Weapon X… or perhaps not. Where the heck are his red eyes! How about the trench coat he is never seen without? Is that really supposed to be Remy LeBeau? Did I just say Weapon X?

Take a look and see what you think:

The Gambit character entered the Marvel universe in 1990, appearing in Uncanny X-Men (issue 266). However, it was not until the hit cartoon X-Men, the animated series that Gambit earned his massive fan base. The show lasted about 5 seasons and is by far my favorite cartoon of all time. It is where Gambit and Wolverine became my favorite X-Characters.

Just thinking about it brings back fond memories of all the guys in elementary school trading the Marvel cards. Gambit is still one of my favorite characters although I can’t say the same for Wolverine anymore with how overused he has become – not only in the comics, but obviously in the movies. I would even go so far as to say, the character has been partly ruined by Marvel.

I personally preferred Wolverine as just a part of the team as opposed to the central focus or for some crazy reason, the leader (The Last Stand, anyone? Even the new cartoon is called Wolverine and the X-men). As a side note, the new X-Men series has aired nearly a dozen episodes in some regions and is set to air in the U.S. in January. In this show, Wolverine is the leader of the X-Men and the real leader (Cyclops) is a background character. Without exaggerating, there’s been a complete trade and Cyclops has taken Wolverine’s exact role from the original nineties cartoon (the quiet angry badass).

To me, Wolverine was awesome back in the day because he was the dark and dry support character with the short temper, sometimes-questionable morals and a mysterious past. He was the gruff man’s man who chilled out, drank beer and smoked while lying back on the couch with feet up.

Rules were not a priority of his but when crap hit the fan, you sure as hell wanted him on your side. However, you always feared he could go over the edge and might not always be easily restrained. When asked to do something he didn’t want to do, he’d argue or disagree but he had a heart of gold when it came to protecting his own – and this made him a father figure to several young female X-Men team members throughout the years.

Now? Well, now he’s the goody two-shoes who appears in like 328 comics a month – or something close to that. His mystery is gone, his coolness factor has dropped and what made him more awesome then most has faded. That being said, the character is still tons of fun to read (there’s a reason he got so much attention in the first place) and I love watching Hugh Jackman play him in the films. I just wish he could be used better to make other characters better as well, rather than inappropriately overshadowing them (and the story).

All right – now back to Gambit.

Known for being the resident ladies man of the X-Men, Gambit is part of one of Marvel’s most well-known (and complex) relationships with fellow teammate Rogue (played by Anna Paquin in the X-Men trilogy).

In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Gambit is played by Canadian Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights and The Covenant fame. I think it’s cool that he’s a fellow Canadian but I actually was a supporter of the idea of Josh Holloway (who plays Sawyer in Lost) taking the role in the feature films and I’m saddened this did not come to fruition.

It’s obvious they needed a younger actor to play the part in this film as it is a prequel to the X-Men trilogy while completely out of any form of continuity. I love Gambit but he does not belong in this film. I understand that saying that doesn’t mean anything because Fox Studios’ take on the X-Men is far from what is in the source material. But I’m easily able to enjoy the films and separate the films from the rest of the Marvel material and take it for what it is.

I loved the first X-Men film, liked the second but really despised the third. The footage I saw of X-Men Origins: Wolverine makes me think it could be a fun ride. I just hope they don’t screw characters up as much as the story already is – or this is going to go from fun to frustrating and disappointing. Specifically, Deadpool had better have his scars and costume and Gambit had better throw some cards that glow and make that sweet sound similar to the cartoon. We can already see that they’re not giving Gambit his trademark visual feature of black and red eyes; they best not pull another Colossus and make him have no accent.

Wow…all of this over one picture I barely talk about.

What do you think of the picture? What do you expect from the film? What do you think of the use of the Wolverine character?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine hits theaters May 1, 2009 while Wolverine and the X-Men airs in the U.S. on January 23, 2009.

Source: Empire Online