Twentieth Century Fox and producer Simon Kinberg are focused on marketing this summer's Fantastic Four reboot and simultaneously shooting X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool. However, even with news of Wolverine 3 and New Mutants stealing our attention, fans shouldn't forget about the other X-Men spinoff debuting in between all of the aforementioned films.
We're referring to the Ragin' Cajun known as Gambit, a character and project very personal to star Channing Tatum who - like Ryan Reynolds is for Deadpool - is spearheading the Gambit X-Men solo character movie/reboot with the backing of producer Lauren Shuler Donner.
Much like Deadpool aims to replace bad memories of the charcters' first onscreen debut in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine (bringing the character to life with the proper costume, dialogue and tone of the comics), so to will Gambit do the same for Remy LeBeau - who also had a problematic intro in the first Wolverine solo adventure, where he was played by Taylor Kitsch. It wasn't Kitsch's fault, but the character he played simply wasn't the fan-favorite card tossing, thick-accented womanizer from the comics.
That's something Channing Tatum promises to deliver when he suits up as the mutant thief in October 2016 (when Gambit opens in theaters) - the same year as Deadpool and X-Men: Apocalypse. In chatting with Empire Magazine (in the same issue where we saw the new X-Men: Apocalypse concept art), Tatum reiterated his connection to the character and why he's appealing.
"I love Gambit. I grew up in the South; my father's from Louisiana. We'd go to New Orleans and I heard all the dialects. It felt so different from the rest of America; it has its own ancient culture. So I identified with that. And he always felt the most real of the X-Men to me. He's kind of a tortured soul and he's not a good guy. But he's not a bad guy, either. He walks his own path. And of course he plays cards and drinks and is a martial-arts badass!"
Fox brought in RoboCop screenwriter Josh Zetumer in October to pen the Gambit screenplay and he's already completed one script draft for the film.
"Josh Zetumer just turned in the first draft of the script, and it's killer. None of us were sure how he was going to deal with the X-Men world. But we're going to be changing some of the tropes of these movies. It's always about saving the world (Laughs), but maybe we're going to shift things a liittle but. There's so many ways you can take [an origin story]. You could do it like Batman Begins, or a different take and go the Guardians of the Galaxy route. All I can say is, I'm super excited."
By "Guardians of the Galaxy route" we can only assume that the Magic Mike star is referring to the standalone nature and/or comedic tone of Marvel Studios' space opera, combined with an origin story that spans multiple time periods in the life of the character a la Batman Begins.
How a Gambit solo film fits the X-Men movie universe is a bigger question now more than ever. Tatum appears to have gotten his wish of seeing Gambit's origins in a solo story before he enlists in the X-Men, although there are rumors he could cameo in X-Men: Apocalypse. That raises the question of when the film takes place in the already confusing continuity of the X-Men movie series. The original Remy LeBeau (the Taylor Kitsch version) was introduced in the late '80s or early '90s (depending on when X-Men: Wolverine took place), so we'll have to wait and see if Tatum's Gambit is also set a little into the past or if it's modern set (like Deadpool appears to be).
That's the tricky part of connecting all the X-Men films since X-Men: Apocalypse is set (primarily) in 1983. That leaves more than three decades between it and Deadpool. We also don't yet know when New Mutants will take place in relation to these movies (assume the present), so we made see the use of time-travel once again to alter timelines or bring characters together.
After all, X-Men: Apocalypse will need to address the idea of world that fears mutants after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, seeing as Magneto dropped a stadium around the White House. There's no coming back from that, especially if a decade later Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) lays waste to the planet. Did we mention the Fantastic Four is also set in the present or near-future and introduces the concept of inter-dimensional travel?
Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12th, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th, 2016, Gambit on October 7th, 2016, Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on June 9th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018.
Source: Empire (via CBM)