For fans of the X-Men films, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is arguably among the weakest entries in the franchise to date (competing largely with X-Men: The Last Stand, that is). Thans to last year's X-Men: Days of Future Past essentially resetting the timeline, Twentieth Century Fox is taking this opportunity to retcon a number of characters, including previously failed versions of Deadpool and Gambit (both of whom debuted problematically in X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
However, while Ryan Reynolds will have the chance to present a different, more true-to-form version of the former in next year's Deadpool solo feature, Taylor Kitsch will be replaced by Channing Tatum when the Gambit film makes its way to theaters in fall 2016. The X-Men franchise has largely shied away from recasting such prominent roles, though the appearance of a new actor as Colossus in Deadpool indicates that anything now goes.
The Daily Beast caught up with Kitsch and inevitably the X-Men franchise came up. As it turns out, Kitsch was never even approached about reprising the role of Gambit. Here's what he had to say:
"Um…no, I didn’t have a go [at returning to the role of Gambit]. Ever since we finished the movie, it’s never really been an option. But no, I wish [Channing] nothing but the best. It was a fun character to play, and I learned a lot working with Hugh [Jackman] and had an amazing time in Australia. I’m sure they’re doing their own thing with it, and I’m sure Channing will be great."
Most likely, the decision to not bring Kitsch back in the part was motivated by Fox's desire to ignore X-Men Origins: Wolverine entirely, a non-issue now since it's been wiped from the timeline anyway. Add to that the fact that Kitsch's track record for headlining films is fairly bleak (see: Battleship, John Carter), and the casting of an A-list star like Tatum in the title role of a Gambit film becomes instantly more appealing, at least in the studio's eyes. And we know the movie is only happening because Tatum is a big fan of the character himself and has a working relationship with X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner.
Meanwhile, Kitsch has been keeping busy with a number of film and television projects, including a major role on season 2 of True Detective. So it's not exactly like he's pining for work these days. It's just unfortunate that his performance as Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine - which, while not necessarily a standout, was far from that film's biggest problems - has been swept away with the rest of the franchise's missteps.
[Ed. Note: Then again. The "Ragin' Cajun" needs to be... Cajun. And that's something Tatum is working on alongside some neat card tricks.]
Fantastic Four opens August 7, 2015, Deadpool on February 12, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, Gambit on October 7, 2016, Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018.
Source: The Daily Beast