After many months of expressing his personal interest in the character and project, and a few reports indicating it might not happen, in August we learned that Channing Tatum was indeed going to get his wish of playing his favorite superhero, Gambit. The X-Men spinoff was initially meant to be the second of two solo character movies under the X-Men banner coming in 2016 alongside X-Men: Apocalypse - the other being Ryan Reynolds' own passion project Deadpool - but the rushed development schedule just didn't work out.
Gambit was already meant to be in production with an official release date set for October 2016 but initial director Rupert Wyatt parted ways with the studio of reported creative differences and a lengthy search for a replacement hasn't found a willing and worthy successor until now. Doug Liman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow) is going to direct Gambit but production won't be starting until the spring.
Speaking with Collider, X-Men franchise producer Simon Kinberg - current overseer of Fox's own Marvel universe including their two new live-action television shows in development - compared the unique tones of their two new character spinoffs and unofficially confirmed that the release date for Gambit will need be delayed since the start date has been pushed back. He said the following before Doug Liman's name was announced via the trades:
"...we have a director in and I don’t know if I’m allowed to say who it is yet because his deal isn’t done, but it’s somebody we’re excited about, and somebody I adore, and hopefully we can make an announcement soon about that. But we’ve been spending a lot of time together—Channing, [Reid Carolin, Tatum’s producing partner], [screenwriter Joshua Zetumer], the director, and myself—just working on the script, and we hope to start shooting next spring."
As for how Gambit will differ from the R-rated Deadpool and the familiar Wolverine movies:
"I mean Deadpool obviously has a very different, almost antithetical tone to the mainline X-Men movies. The X-Men movies are dramatic and almost operatic, whereas Deadpool is irreverent and hysterical and sort of a dirty R-rated comedy in many ways. And Gambit will have its own different flavor and tone to it, will be more of like a heist movie and a sexy thriller in a way."
A heist movie was the descriptor for Marvel's Ant-Man which earned over half a billion at the worldwide box office and already landed a sequel. We can expect Gambit, a notorious thief himself with mutant powers to kinetically charge objects (making them explosive) and to hypnotize, to be very different stylistically. As a known womanizer, the "sexy" note seems a must for the type of character Gambit is.
Stay tuned for more X-Men movie news shortly!
Deadpool opens in theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.
Channing Tatum as Gambit fan art by sia1965pak.