We’ve known for a while that Channing Tatum will eventually play cardslinging mutant Gambit in a future X-Men movie, but it was unclear if he would be an ensemble member in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse or if he would jump straight into a standalone movie. Now it’s looking like the latter.
Deadline reports that Fox has brought on Josh Zetumer—who wrote the screenplay for the RoboCop reboot—to pen Gambit’s solo film. What’s more interesting is that Zetumer will be working off a treatment written by Chris Claremont, who created the character with Jim Lee back in 1990.
Knowing that the movie will have Claremont’s influence doesn’t necessarily mean we know anything about the plot; details are still under wraps. But hopefully the fact that the producers are pulling inspiration from the character’s creator means that they want to give this fan favorite a proper debut. Taylor Kitsch played him in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but he had so little screen time he was barely more than a flashy plot device.
Even before either the casting news or the intel about a standalone movie were confirmed, Tatum was telling interviewers about his take on the character. In a GQ cover story this past May, he talked about his personal connection to the character:
[He was] the only superhero I really followed…. He was the most real to me: smoking, drinking, women-loving, thief. He just looked cool to me. I’ve always loved him. And obviously he’s Cajun.
It turns out that Tatum was nearly cast as Gambit all the way back in 2006 for X-Men: The Last Stand, but that role got written out of the movie. By the time the producers were going to introduce Gambit in 2009, Tatum was further along in his career and busy with G.I. Joe.
(Side note: Despite the timeline-wrangling in X-Men: Days of Future Past, it appears that Kitsch’s Gambit might still count as some sort of canon. We’re assuming that producers will just say that both actors are playing the same character.)
As recently as a few weeks ago, Tatum told MTV that Gambit’s first outing would not involve him saving the world:
I don’t want to give too much away because we don’t know that much right now other than who Gambit is. We really do want to try our hardest to give something fresh. We’re obviously going to go to the saving the world superhero movies eventually, but not for the first one.
No word yet on when the movie will come out.