X-Men franchise producer Simon Kinberg says the Channing Tatum-led Gambit spinoff film is still moving forward. Tatum become formally attached to star in the Gambit solo movie in 2014 and had begun to express his interest in playing the Ragin' Cajun even before then. In spite of the actor's undying commitment to the project, Gambit has struggled to get off the ground and has gone through no less than three big-name directors by now. Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, A Cure for Wellness) was the most recent filmmaker to abandon ship on the spinoff.
Fox didn't include Gambit on its list of upcoming X-Men movies during its CinemaCon presentation last month, further fueling rumors that the film is either dead in the water or on life support. Of course, X-Men fans probably know better than to jump to conclusions by now; after all, it took seven years for Ryan Reynolds to get his Deadpool solo movie after making his debut as The Merc With a Mouth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Kinberg is calling for patience when it comes to Gambit too, even with so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the X-Men franchise at the moment.
Most of that uncertainty can be attributed to the Disney/Fox deal, which won't be finalized until 2019 at the earliest. Because of that, Reynolds told EW "I really genuinely don't know a thing" about Disney's plans for the Deadpool franchise, beyond Disney CEO Bob Iger's public comments about wanting to make more Deadpool films once the deal is done. Kinberg added that for legal reasons, they can't ask Disney about their plans either and are thus moving forward with the X-Men franchise as planned, the Gambit movie included:
“We haven’t had any discussions yet about what the Disney acquisition of Fox would look like for the Marvel properties because I think legally they’re not allowed to talk about it until it’s done. So no we haven’t talked about it all. We’re just moving forward as we move forward. Once Drew Goddard’s ready we’ll get into X-Force and, believe it or not, we’re still trying to get Gambit [starring Channing Tatum as the cajun mutant] up and running. The hope is to keep moving forward until we hear otherwise. To me, I have no idea what to expect but I think it could be really exciting.”
Fox is holding onto a June 2019 release date for Gambit, but the lack of concrete updates recently - save for a rumored filming start date - makes it highly improbable the movie will keep that date. It sounds like X-Force is the bigger priority now anyway, in anticipation of this month's Deadpool 2 (which features an early version of the X-Force crew) becoming a big hit at the box office. With Kinberg also preparing for X-Men: Dark Phoenix pickup shoots later this year and The New Mutants undergoing heavy reshoots for its release next year, it's presumably all the harder for Gambit to get off the ground with everything else happening on the X-Men front right now.
Still, there are other signs that Gambit could start moving forward properly again, in addition to Kinberg's comments. It emerged this week that Ben Wheatley is working on a Marvel film, leading to speculation that Gambit is the mystery movie in question. The High-Rise and Free Fire director sounds like a good choice to bring the Ragin' Cajun's world of warring criminal guilds to cinematic life, so here's to hoping that rumor pans out. Failing that, a more concrete update on where Gambit is at would be welcome.
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019