Five years ago Taylor Kitsch told us he was excited at the potential of giving us more Gambit after his introduction in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But like Ryan Reynolds and the long-awaited Deadpool solo movie that can't get a greenlight from Twentieth Century Fox, Kitsch just can't catch a break. Gambit however, the X-Men thief and fan-favorite of comic readers, cartoon viewers and card collectors of the '90s, is coming back - but it will be Channing Tatum playing him.
Tatum's a big fan of the card-throwing, kinetic energy master and on-and-off-again love interest of fellow X-Men hero Rogue (Anna Paquin in the movies) and has long been vocal about his passion and interest for the character. He's a fan of Kitsch's work but understands the criticisms of his take on Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine where - like most of the adapted live-action versions of the characters - he was simplified down visually and lost his signature accent (much like Colossus, Pyro, Banshee, etc.). That's right, Tatum will be performing the Cajun accent if/when he plays the character.
This isn't just a case of an actor opening up about their personal interests, since he's actually in talks with producer Lauren Shuler Donner who very much wants a Gambit solo movie too. And the timing for a (re)introduction could be soon given that Hugh Jackman seems to be swaying back-and-forth on whether or not he'll continue playing X-Men franchise poster boy Wolverine after he returns for X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016 and Wolverine 3 in 2017.
Speaking with MTV, Channing Tatum explains where they are in the process at the moment.
"Creatively, we’re starting to chug forward. Obviously there’s nothing written. There are only conversations and dreams really, right now. The machine of the Marvel world is so ginormous that it’s literally like climbing a mountain, getting one of these movies made, and all of the pieces that go along with it, but I've been pretty vocal about wanting to be the part of Gambit for a very long time. It’s a weird, pinching-myself moment that we’re even having the conversation."
While it's not official of course, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner and writer Simon Kinberg have spoken excitedly about Tatum playing the Ragin' Cajun mutant, even unofficially confirming that it's going to happen. The question now is when.
"We've talked about it being a standalone, first, and actually trying to change the ‘hero, superhero movie’ just a little because Gambit is not really your stereotypical "hero" hero. He’s a thief. He walks on the gray. I’m hoping we can change it a little bit, and then ultimately feather into the other ones."
X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer namedropped Gambit and Nightcrawler as two characters he was very much interested in using in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse but that would make it impossible to give Tatum a standalone Gambit picture first. If the current goal is to find a writer to put together an X-Men Origins: Gambit style movie first, the earliest it would hit theaters would be 2018 unless Twentieth Century Fox has the production capacity to add another big budget tentpole to 2017 where they already have scheduled Fantastic Four 2 and a third Wolverine solo movie.
For now, watch these and enjoy:
Stay tuned for our own interview with Channing Tatum for 22 Jump Street!
X-Men: Days of Future Past is currently in theaters worldwide. Fantastic Four releases 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.
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Header image from X-Men: Legacy #224 cover art by Lee Bermejo and Morry Hollowell.