Gambit, which looks to star Channing Tatum as the ragin’ Cajun, has been in development hell since 2015. I remember attending Comic Con with Ryan Reynolds, the cast of the Fantastic Four Reboot, and the cast of X-Men: Apocalypse on stage with Stan Lee taking a selfie with Tatum holding the camera. I even still have the badges from that year.
That was the summer of 2015. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was also coming out. And Batman v. Superman just saw a new star in Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. A lot can change in three years. Except for Gambit apparently.
The film has gone through a number of directors signing on then leaving the project, and it looks like a script is still being developed.
But according to Simon Kinberg, a producer on the project, this film will be a romantic comedy, which is the first real thing we’re hearing about the movie. We’ve heard about the film getting announced, having Tatum as Remy Lebeau, and that’s pretty much it. There was also some news about it coming for CineEurope that it would still get made at some point. At this stage in the game though, it looks like the movie might be the last film of the X-Men franchise before the Disney takeover.
Kingberg spoke to IGN:
“When you look at Gambit, he’s a hustler and a womanizer and we just felt like there was an attitude, a swagger to him, that lent itself to romantic comedy. You know, when I say romantic comedy, I use that term loosely, in the same term that I use the term western for [easyazon_link identifier=”B06XDRTLNY” locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Logan[/easyazon_link] loosely. It’s not like they’re gunslingers at high noon in Logan. It’s just a vibe. And I would say the vibe of Gambit has a romantic or sex comedy vibe to it. While it is also still very much a superhero movie with villains and heroes, as all these movies are.”
But there’s a number of problems with this and overall a problem fans have with the franchise as a whole.
They don’t know where to go, so they go later
Dark Phoenix is going into space according to Kinberg, but we aren’t seeing any space shots other than that shot of the team in the Blackbird for a few seconds. Otherwise, we see Jean going all Carrie against the military and police.
And then we see (or, more accurately, are promised to see) a movie that has no direction, no script, and a star doing his utmost to get the project up and running in Gambit.
To make matters worse a new report indicates that Fox is pushing all of their superhero movies back. Alita: Battle Angel will come out on February 14, 2019. That was the date X-Men: Dark Phoenix was supposed to premiere. In fact, it was the date they confirmed in their first trailer. But just a day later, the film was pushed back to June 7, 2019. The theory for the change in date it to hopefully garner a bigger take in China. That puts Gambit, a movie that hasn’t been filmed, doesn’t have a director, and doesn’t have a script, in the last spot for March 13, 2020. That’s five years after it was originally announced.
The Morlock Romcom
It doesn’t look like the Gambit film will deal with some of his comic book origins. Things like the Morlock massacre probably won’t be addressed. Nor his time with the Marauders. And his part in the New Orleans thieves guild are off the table. The more tragic elements of his life that make him an interesting character are most likely not part of the new script.
It might sound like a lot of ire at the state of Fox movies right now, and for the plight of the X-Men films at their last-ditch efforts. Part of me wishes the studio would just give a talented creator free reign over their projects and make the movie they want to make. They did it for Deadpool and look how much they got from it. They did the same thing for Logan. However, when Kinberg makes statements like this, it makes me question creatives. It almost has me thinking it’d be better for the studio to step in and trash the project altogether.
Gambit is a tragic character. His backstory, and his personality are pretty much his machismo coping mechanisms to traumatic events. The womanizing, the suave persuasion, the overall charming vibe he puts out are all efforts to cover for his past mistakes. But for Kinberg to give Remy Lebeau a comedic tone that discards any of this leaves me with a lot of uncertainty. The direction of the films since X-Men: Apocalypse has been a mess. For the studio to make all these wrong moves as of late gives the audience doubt. And that’s a horrible thing to encounter when a studio wants to create hype for a film.
At this point, a film will have to take bold steps with an independent voice to get my attention. I’m more hyped for The New Mutants with the direction they are taking than I am with Gambit or Dark Phoenix. And all of those projects have been pushed back, so lingering doubt remains. It’d be better if the studio kept the February release date. For this, they would need to can the Deadpool 2 re-release with the PG-13 rating. They will also need the guts to get out with their Skrulls before Captain Marvel. If they even have Skrulls.
Out of the vast film library the franchise has made over the years, there have been more misses than hits. But the ones that hit have been phenomenal almost standalone films amongst the bunch.
Perhaps Gambit serving as a standalone film will help rather than hurt the franchise as it approaches the final days. Maybe we can get a good film out of the studio yet. Maybe they can surprise us. But that doubt still lingers over the franchise.
We’ll see what happens when Gambit hits theaters in 2020. But first they need to finish the script.