You know Gambit, right?
That sexy, Cajun mutant with the ability to control the kinetic energy of things he touches? Tends to power up playing cards and throw them at people, because he’s a bit of a gambler (gambler, Gambit, get it?), but also carries a staff that can do some serious damage when he charges it up.
Gambit, a.k.a. Remy LeBeau, was introduced in the comics by the great Chris Claremont and Jim Lee during the great X-Men heyday back in the early 1990s. He made his cinematic debut in the colossally horrible 2009 film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or as I have called it in the past: the movie that killed a franchise before it even started.
Art by Chris Bachalo
The single bright spot from that film, aside from keeping Ryan Reynolds on board the Deadpool train, was the appearance of Gambit, in a bit of an extended cameo.
gif by gifhunterress, Tumblr
Gambit was everything that comic readers had come to expect: cute, sexy, sarcastic, powerful, and all wrapped up in the Cajun-spicy package of a not-yet-tossed-aside-by-Hollywood Taylor Kitsch.
So, bright was that spot, in fact, that fans started wanting a Gambit stand-alone film. Not as much as they wanted a Deadpool film, but still: interest was high.
Then word came of a Gambit project, and people were happy. Well, some people were happy. I wasn’t one of them. When it was announced that Gambit was to be played by Channing Tatum, who was spearheading the effort to get the movie made, I wasn’t sold.
I do not believe that Channing Tatum can convince anyone that he is the Cajun heart-breaker. I think he’s the wrong man for the role, and this project, as currently envisioned, will be another Origins-level fiasco.
Art from Cosmic Booknews
I was, and still am, of the opinion that this role was, pardon the pun, tailor-made for Taylor Kitsch. He originated the role, he certainly looks the part, and, despite what you may or may not think of either John Carter or Battleship, Kitsch’s performances were certainly not the problem with those films. His acting chops have never been debated, going back to his time on Friday Night Lights.
This would seem like a no-brainer bit of casting, save that his name is not enough to inspire confidence from the studio, despite the fact that Gambit could easily get made on a budget of $40-50 million, thereby limiting a studio’s financial exposure.
Tatum, on the other hand, apparently sees Gambit as a sort of passion project, not entirely unlike Deadpool was for Ryan Reynolds.
Here’s the rub, though: nobody thought of anybody else but Reynolds when talking about Deadpool (even after Green Lantern).
Gambit, on the other hand…
Since 2014, Tatum’s Gambit project has lost two directors (Rupert Wyatt and Doug Liman), currently doesn’t have one, is still scripting, and has been pushed from a fall 2016 release date to “hopefully” shooting in spring of 2017, releasing in 2018.
That is a lot of variables and uncertainty.
I fear for the future of Gambit.
He deserves better than this.