X-Men: Days of Future Past, a tale of two superhero teams from two different eras, represents both a beginning and an end for the movie franchise as we know it. And that’s a good thing. Twentieth Century Fox and the producers, directors and writers currently involved with the X-Men series mean serious business with their coveted Marvel license and like Bryan Singer said when he jumped into the director’s chair for Days of Future Past, they’re going to “fix” the series and broaden out the universe.

And like consultant and comic book writer Mark Millar said, they’re going to be looking deep into the decades of X-Men comics lore to start taking real advantage of the property for their film franchise. That means more sequels and more spinoffs – including that much talked about Gambit movie with Channing Tatum.

It all begins with X-Men: Days of Future Past though. Thanks to the wondrously convenient plot device of time-travel, a common fave for X-Men stories in the books, moviegoers get to see both the returning core cast of 2011’s X-Men: First Class in the same feature film as the familiar stars from the original trilogy. Playing with the notion of time and altering events of the past to course correct the future also gives Fox and its creatives a unique opportunity to retcon (retroactive continuity) and change events of the previous movies and reset anything they please. Don’t like Brett Ratner’s handling of X-Men: The Last Stand? No problem.

That means come time for its followup X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016, we might see not only Hugh Jackman return alongside the core heroes of the First Class team (which by the way will shoot back-to-back with Wolverine 3), but joined by plenty of other returning stars. Bryan Singer, who’s currently working on Apocalypse alongside producer Simon Kinberg and writers Dan Harris and Mike Dougherty already said he wants to bring back Gambit and Nightcrawler for Apocalypse, alongside Quicksilver who’s introduced in Days of Future Past. He also hinted that we could see the return of key original characters Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm.

The Gambit and Nightcrawler We Already Met

For now, we’re interested in the Gambit part of this notion since producer Lauren Shuler Donner has expressed a keen interest in making the character a big deal in the films. It began eight months ago when Channing Tatum said he’s a big fan of the character of Gambit and would love to play him in an X-Men film, promising that he’d even do the character’s trademark Cajun accent. A few months later, Donner revealed that she wants Tatum involved as well, with Tatum seemingly confirming semi-official talks just a few weeks ago.

Speaking with HitFix last week, producer Lauren Shuler Donner touched briefly on the future of the X-Men franchise, first teasing the possibility of seeing the original cast back again for another team-up, but acting more confident in plans for a pair of solo spinoff films for two key characters from the comics.

“Definitely some solo efforts. I hope to see us do Gambit. Deadpool will eventually punch his way to the screen I think. Yes, we’ll do some solo efforts.”

And chatting with Total Film, Donner confirms that Channing Tatum is their Gambit. Now it’s a question of where we’ll see him introduced.

“Deadpool, Yes. X-Force is fascinating. We love X-Force – it allows us to be a little grittier. And also Gambit.”

“It is Channing, yes. Yes… He’s a rogue. He’s a rascal, just like Remy LeBeau. And he can handle the action, we know that. And he’s got a really good heart. So I think he’ll be great for Gambit and he’s a Southerner too! He’s not from New Orleans but he’s a Southerner and he understands that world.”

Of course, this is not official at this point – just that they’ve talked about it and perhaps agreed, but as far as we can tell, Channing Tatum has not yet not signed and no official announcement has come out from the studio.

That being said, our apologies go out to Taylor Kitsch, who introduced the character in the first Wolverine spinoff. While we liked the underutilized mutant at the time – for the most part – we do need that Cajun accent. Fortunately, it seems from everything we’re hearing that everyone’s keen on forgetting X-Men Origins: Wolverine anyway. The idea of Tatum playing Gambit becoming a hot topic in recent weeks and months means to us that he’s definitely on the table as a character for X-Men: Apocalypse and for fans of the books, that means that with the big bad powerful ancient villain of Apocalypse, comes his four Horsemen – and Gambit was once the Horseman of Death. So was Wolverine at one point, so we just might see an interesting twist on the characters where the X-Men have to fight an evil version of Gambit and/or Wolverine.

At this point it’s impossible tell what characters and story arcs could be included in Apocalypse and what other major villains from the source material could make their way to the big screen (looking at you, Mr. Sinister), but the potential is sky high especially with early reactions and reviews for Days of Future Past coming in strongly positive.

As for Deadpool, that’s been in development ever since Ryan Reynolds played (a weird version of) Wade Wilson aka Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, arguably the most continuity-breaking film in the franchise to date. A script for Deadpool was put together by Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, one that could earn an R-rating, and one that received very positive buzz from those who read it. Tim Miller was attached to direct the reboot of the character but nothing’s come of it until the recent talks about the future of the series – potentially relaunched thanks to the time-travel plot of Days of Future Past.

Fan-Made Deadpool
Cover For X-Men: DOFP

Reynolds said seven months back that development on Deadpool had slowly begun moving again and Miller said all they need is the studio greenlight. With the producers talking up a storm about expanding the franchise, Deadpool still might be in the cards, especially since we expect the character to be a part of the X-Force movie Jeff Wadlow is writing, should Fox give it the go-ahead. An X-Force film featuring Deadpool as one of its five main characters could serve as a launch platform for Deadpool solo adventure – something character creator Rob Liefeld teased could be a possibility down the road. The same can be said for X-Men: Apocalypse launching a franchise for Tatum’s Gambit. On the other hand, Fox just recently announced release dates for a series of upcoming Marvel properties, and while there is one “unannounced” project slated for July 2018, there was no mention of Deadpool. Gambit or X-Force.

So, is that 2018 reserved for X-Force, Gambit or something else? Are we really going to wait four years for that or could some of these spinoffs be fast-tracked for development if X-Men: Days of Future Past opens as strong as forecasts predict (a $125 domestic opening weekend)?

More: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ Even Bigger Than ‘Days of Future Past’

Bryan Singer directs X-Men: Days of Future Past with newcomers Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Boo Boo Stewart, Fan Bingbing, Evan Peters, Adan Canto, Josh Helman, Evan Jonigkeit along with returning stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry, Lucas Till, and Daniel Cudmore.

X-Men: Days of Future Past arrives in U.S. theaters on May 23rd, 2014, followed by Fantastic Four on June 19th, 2015, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th, 2016, The Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on July 14th, 2017, and an unspecified Marvel film on July 13th, 2018.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your X-Men comics and movie news!

Sources: HitFixTotal Film