It's been a long time coming, but it looks like Gambit might finally get his own film after all. Earlier this week, X-Men franchise producer Simon Kinberg confirmed that the project is definitely moving forward. Channing Tatum, who's been attached to the project since 2014, is still slated to star as the Ragin' Cajun. The film's now aiming for a summer 2019 release date.
Since it was first announced, Gambit's been plagued by numerous production delays, shifting release dates, and a revolving door of potential directors. In January this year, the release date was pushed back from February 2019 to the following June. Though its absence from Fox's CinemaCon presentation last month, caused some to speculate the project wouldn't be moving forward at all.
According to Kinberg, that's simply not the case. While speaking with Variety before the premiere of Deadpool 2 Monday night, he confirmed that that there is a script and right now they're looking for the right director. "We have a script that we love — that Channing loves," said Kinberg. He also confirmed that the plan is to start filming later this summer so the film will be ready for its theatrical release next year. He also addressed the film's numerous delays, stating, "When you have these movies that need a very special and unique tone, it takes a little while to find that tone."
The project has also had numerous big-name directors since it was first announced, including Rupert Wyatt and Gore Verbinksi. Wyatt left the movie due to a scheduling issue, whereas Verbinski cited "creative differences" as the reason for his exit. There was a rumor that Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts was, or still is, in the mix. There had also been some speculation that Free Fire director Ben Wheatley would be helming the project. Wheatley recently announced that he was making "a big Marvel film," but there have been no details beyond that.
The charismatic mutant, who hails from New Orleans, already has a long history in X-Men cinematic lore. He was first set to appear during a Cerebro sequence in X2: X-Men United back in 2003. Director Bryan Singer even filmed the scene, though it ended up on the cutting room floor. In its place, his character's real name, Remy LaBeau, shows up briefly in a database that keeps tabs on mutants. Six years later, Taylor Kitsch played Gambit for his big-screen debut in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Granted, that movie also marked the first on-screen appearance of Deadpool, and we all know how that turned out.
Given the success of the X-Men franchise, and an A-list talent like Tatum attached, it does seem odd that Gambit has taken so long to get off the ground. One possibility is that superhero films that break the mold are proving to be big draws. After all, Logan and Deadpool were both critical and commercial successes for Fox. So maybe Kinberg and company are really taking their time to nail a character as unique as Gambit.
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020