UPDATE: Gambit has an updated start date of June 2018.
Gambit is the X-Men film Fox are determined to make. It's also the X-Men movie they've had the most trouble with - and perhaps the one they should just outright cancel. The film has gone through multiple directors and the release date pushed back time and again. About the only constant has been Channing Tatum's desire to play the X-Men's "swamp rat," but that doesn't seem enough to get this film on to the big screen. With production now delayed once again, it's possible Fox will never get to make this movie; with the recent loss of Gore Verbinski and a release date move to 2019, it's back in a similar state it's been in for years.
Something's very wrong with this production, and it's time for Fox to take a long, hard look at Gambit. While most of their X-Men film slate looks tremendous, this is the one film that should really be canceled.
This Page: Gambit's Terrible Time In Development Hell
Fox Has Been Trying To Make A Gambit Movie For Years
Fox have had plans for the Ragin' Cajun for years. In fact, Tatum almost played Gambit in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand but the character was written out, then was busy filming G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra when he finally debuted in X-Men Origins: Wolverine a few years later (the role instead went to Taylor Kitsch). Even then, Fox seemed to hope the character would be successful enough to launch a spin-off film, and there were reports Kitsch signed a three-picture deal.
Fast-forward to 2014, Lauren Donner revealed that she'd begun planning a Gambit film with Tatum. In October that year, Fox hired Josh Zetumer to write the screenplay. With Tatum set to co-produce the film, Fox announced a release date of October 7, 2016. It took the studio months to find a director, though, with Gareth Evans, Bennett Miller, and J.C. Chandor passing on the film. Finally, in June 2015, Rupert Wyatt signed up. However, that was when things first began to get complicated.
At the time, Fox was concerned about the possibility of losing Hugh Jackman, and believed they needed another franchise lead. They fixed their eyes on Tatum's Gambit, planning to turn the film into a blockbuster. There were rumors Tatum himself was unimpressed with the idea; it wasn't the film he'd imagined it to be. In September 2015, Wyatt bowed out. Although Wyatt put this down to a scheduling conflict, there were reports he'd grown "skittish" and wanted to rewrite the script.
Gambit's Repeating Director Problems
Desperate to keep the release date, Fox did the rounds. They found director Doug Liman, and by November 2015 he was reworking the script. At this stage, producer Simon Kinberg began to realize the film could be very different. Fox was noting increased interest in R-rated characters like Deadpool, and Kinberg began to imagine Gambit as a "sexy thriller."
Fox canceled Gambit's release date while the script was being worked on, and Liman began to film other projects. As time passed, Liman seemed to become increasingly distant from the project. Finally, in August 2017 he jumped ship. In an ironic twist, Liman was signed up with DC's Dark Universe instead.
The next few months passed with only occasional comment about Gambit. Both Tatum and Fox were clear that the film was still "in active development," but it took the studio until October to hire a new director - Gore Verbinski. The film was assigned a new release date, February 14, 2019. Then, in yet another twist, Verbinski pulled out early this year. Fox has pushed the release date back again, to June 7, 2019. There's currently no director associated with the project.
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020