All the talk from producers and actors about making more X-Men movie spinoffs for fan-favorite characters from the comics isn’t just talk anymore. If Twentieth Century Fox didn’t get catch the attention of X-Men movie fans by announcing X-Men: Apocalypse for 2016 before X-Men: Days of Future Past hit theaters last summer, then they sure did with the surprise announcement a few short months ago that Deadpool would also come in 2016.
Now, they’re driving the point home by also confirming a Gambit spinoff that will star Channing Tatum. And the the best part is, Gambit is also coming in 2016. That’s right, we now have three X-Men movies coming in 2016. That’s more than Disney/Marvel Studios, more than Warner Bros./DC Entertainment and more than Sony for the year.
The character of Gambit (real name: Remy LeBeau) was introduced in Fox’s first attempt at an X-Men solo character spinoff, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but the creative team let fans down by ignoring some of the most iconic and interesting traits of the character – most notably, his unique Cajun accent. That version of Gambit was played by Taylor Kitsch but it’s clear that going forward, the studio is pretending that movie didn’t happen.
Like the other X-Men characters, Gambit is a mutant. He possesses the powers of controlling kinetic and potential energy through touch. He can ‘charge’ up objects and cause them to explode, using a deck of playing cards and a staff as his signature weapons. Gambit’s a formidable martial artist who also has the ability to charm people, hence his womanizing ways.
The Gambit character quickly became a fan-fave in the early ’90s thanks to his key role in the animated X-Men cartoon on Fox which came quickly after his introduction in Marvel Comics in 1990. That still remains one of our favorite animated programs of all-time.
Rumors and reports that Channing Tatum would be playing Gambit for the X-Men franchise began a year ago after conversations between him and X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner launched an endless cycle of questions on the topic in interviews with either ever since. We even spoke to Channing Tatum about the character’s accent and abilities while he was promoting 22 Jump Street. Now it’s finally happening and a script is already in the works by Joshua Zetumer (RoboCop) which is based off a treatment by Chris Claremont.
Here’s the full schedule of upcoming X-Men films officially dated thus far:
- Deadpool – February 12, 2016
- X-Men: Apocalypse – May 27, 2016
- Gambit – October 7, 2016
- Wolverine 3 – March 3, 2017
- Untitled X-Men Movie – July 13, 2018
Inevitably sharing the same cinematic space will be the rebooted Fantastic Four series which opens in theaters in August and had its sequel’s release date move up slightly (that announcement came alongside the announcement of Gambit).
- The Fantastic Four – August 7, 2015
- Fantastic Four 2 – June 2, 2017
Given the release date of Gambit, it’s a safe bet both Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum will show up in X-Men: Apocalypse, if for nothing else than cross-promotion. After all, Apocalypse is being touted as the franchise’s biggest film ever and it’s too good of an opportunity not to include the characters worthy enough of a standalone films that same year.
We can applaud Fox for quickly capitalizing on the superhero boom and making seemingly fan-driven projects a reality. Hopefully they can service Deadpool and Gambit in a way that honors the best and most important elements of the characters. Given what Reynolds and Tatum have said about Deadpool and Gambit, respectively, they’re hardcore fans of them and that’s something worth getting excited about.
Don’t be surprised to see Fox add in even more X-Men projects in the following years if they’re ready to launch three Marvel-branded live-action features as soon as 2016. If you’re a Gambit fan, here are some recommendations from interviews with Channing Tatum:
- Channing Tatum Aiming For ‘Gambit’ Solo Movie Before Joining X-Men
- Channing Tatum Talks Gambit’s Movie Costume and Origins
- Channing Tatum is Serious About Gambit’s Cajun Accent and Hypnotic Charm
More: Cable Is ‘Coming’ To X-Men Franchise
Fantastic Four opens August 7, 2015, Deadpool on February 12, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, Gambit is coming Oct 7, 2016, The Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on June 2, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018.