Up to now Hugh Jackman's Wolverine has been the sole X-Men to get a solo film to call his own - two, in fact, with a third one scheduled for 2017. That will change in 2016 when the long-await Deadpool finally arrives, and it looks as though the "Merc With A Mouth" will thereafter be followed by the "Ragin' Cajun", Gambit.
Channing Tatum is lined up to play the latter character in a solo movie, which is now one step closer to becoming a reality. The project has reportedly gained a screenwriter in the shape of Joshua Zetumer, who finally put his name on the map this year by writing the RoboCop reboot after years of penning studio-commissioned scripts that went unused (and doing uncredited rewrites on such projects as Quantum of Solace).
More intriguing, however, is the news that (according to Deadline's report on the matter) Zetumer will be drawing from a Gambit spinoff movie treatment as written by Chris Claremont. For those not aware, Claremont co-created the Gambit character - a mutant who can manipulate pure kinetic energy as he so chooses - with Jim Lee back in 1990; in addition, Claremont penned the comic source material that inspired such X-Men films as The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Claremont's involvement is further proof that not only are the X-Men series producers serious about getting the Gambit film right, but that the spinoff may offer a more unique origin story than your average 20th Century Fox-backed comic book film would've back in the 2000s. The superhero movie game is continuously evolving (on a weekly basis very recently), so recruiting Claremont to help set Gambit sailing in the right direction reads as a smart strategy to help the project keep up.
Tatum, who's an Alabama native, has continuously voiced his enthusiasm about getting to bring Gambit and his accent to life on the big screen, as he takes over the role from Taylor Kitsch (who played the character first in X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Right now, Tatum is working on the anticipated sequel Magic Mike XXL for a Summer 2015 release date, and is earning lots of critical acclaim for his performance in the true-story drama Foxcatcher (due out next month).
That is to say, Tatum's career and credibility as an actor have never been better; he has his detractors, but many X-Men fans have already started to rally behind Tatum as Gambit, no less. Zetumer, for his part, wrote a RoboCop reboot that (despite its flaws) arguably offered a compelling sci-fi character story taken on its own merits; that bodes well for his involvement here, drawing from a Claremont-penned treatment. All in all, Gambit's starting to come together nicely.
Next step will be to find a director for Gambit, to keep the project rolling along steadily; it's not clear yet when Fox intends to release the film in theaters, though, which might impact the searcher for a helmsman. Director Bryan Singer has voiced an interest in having Gambit show up in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, while Tatum has indicated that Gambit might pop up in a solo movie before he teams up with other X-Men.
Right now the trend seem to be shifting towards introducing comic book characters in a teamup and/or crossover movie first, then solo film second. DC is doing that with such characters as Wonder Woman and Cyborg, while Marvel Studios looks to start embracing that practice as it introduces such characters as Black Panther and the Inhumans to the big screen. We'll have to see what happens with Gambit, though.
We'll bring you more information on Gambit when we have it.