A “traumatized” Channing Tatum is finally telling his side of the story with the Gambit movie and why the project never worked out.
Gambit remains the biggest outlier of never-was entries in Fox’s X-Men film franchise. Before the acquisition by Disney, the solo flick was announced and one of the most hotly talked about things on the studio docket until it was sent to linger in development hell.
No Queen’s Gambit
All set to star Channing Tatum, who was enthusiastic about the production, the actor made convention appearances with other X-Men cast members despite not appearing in any of the movies. With those days now behind him, he’s speaking out about why the film went off the rails.
A point came where Tatum found a director he trusted in Dog filmmaker Reid Carolin to take on Gambit but he explained to Variety that Fox wouldn’t sign off on it. “The studio really didn’t want us to direct it,” Tatum said. “They wanted anybody but us, essentially, because we had never directed anything.”
Pretty fly for a hero guy
There was also a dispute over the way the character was perceived. Fox thought of Gambit as “flamboyant” while Tatum disagreed. “They would call him ‘flamboyant’ in his description,” he explains. “I wouldn’t — he was just the coolest person. He could pull anything off.”
Tatum would elaborate, contrasting the Cajun thief’s style with the practicality of Batman and all his gadgets:
"“Most superheroes, their outfits are utilitarian. Batman’s got his belt. Gambit’s like, ‘No, this shit’s just fly, bro! This shit walked down the Paris runway last year.’ He’s just wearing the stuff that’s so dope because he loves fashion.”"
Mike lost the Magic
He pushed hard for a long time to get many things, including an R rating, but Gambit was left hanging and eventually swallowed up and disregarded in the Disney-Fox merger. This didn’t sit well with Tatum and deeply impacted his feelings toward Marvel.
The experience of losing the opportunity was traumatic for the star who compared the ordeal to losing a close friend:
"“Once Gambit went away, I was so traumatized. I shut off my Marvel machine. I haven’t been able to see any of the movies. I loved that character. It was just too sad. It was like losing a friend because I was so ready to play him.”"
Might we see Gambit in the MCU?
Passing between the hands of Gore Verbinski and Rupert Wyatt, the film didn’t seem like a priority for the studio. They certainly didn’t mind leaving the plot thread of Nathaniel Essex (better known as Mr. Sinister) teased in X-Men: Apocalypse unfulfilled. According to Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg, Gambit was the setting brought up for the payoff.
There is a chance Gambit will turn up in the MCU and there are fans who still want to see Channing Tatum get his due in this case, but sadly no signs of a change in fortune for the actor or the character are presenting themselves.
Would you call Gambit a missed opportunity that should be revisited in the MCU? Comment below or on social media.