Even though Fox has now been purchased by Disney — with that deal soon coming to a close, per CNN — Fox once had some the best superhero movies. Along with Marvel properties such as the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Deadpool, Logan, and many others, there was also a Gambit movie in development — one starring Channing Tatum — which unfortunately never saw the light of day. In a recent conversation with Collider, director Rupert Wyatt, who was attached to the film in 2015, reveals how his Gambit movie would have been similar to The Godfather, but with mutants.
Gambit is a fan favorite character from the X-Men comics and animated series, one who is a fast-talking charmer who also happens to be a thief. Gambit has the power to charge anything he touches, causing it to explode. The character was omitted from most of the live-action X-Men films, however, he did make an appearance in the critically panned X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Gambit was played by Taylor Kitsch in that film, as he went head to head with Logan (Hugh Jackman).
Channing Tatum began to campaign for the role of Gambit in the stand alone film, and was seemingly cast. However, the plans for the Gambit movie never really got off the ground for a variety of reasons.
Wyatt, who previously did the rebooted The Planet of the Apes, came on board to direct Gambit back in 2015. However, shifting priorities and the disaster of another Fox-licensed Marvel property, The Fantastic Four, caused Gambit to undergo increased scrutiny from the studio. Wyatt discussed this in a conversation with Collider at the SXSW Film Festival, during the release of his new film, Captive State.
“Fantastic Four came out, did not do very well for Fox, [and] they decided to lower our budget. We were 12 weeks out, we couldn’t recover. The script needed a huge amount of rewriting in order to fit that budget, and ultimately the powers that be chose not to go down that road, so the film didn’t happen.”
Gambit was said to have been a passion project for Tatum, who championed the film for as long as he could. However, with the sale of Fox to Disney, plans for Gambit seem indefinitely stalled, if not canceled altogether. After Wyatt’s involvement, other directors came and went from the project — and the film was ultimately never made. However, Wyatt’s treatment of the film sounds like it would’ve been a unique project.
“I mean it was a period film. It dealt with the ’70s up until the present day. It was about kind of mutant gangs and the notion of what it means to belong, tribalism in this bayou-like environment. The swamps of New Orleans.”
Gambit wouldn’t have been the first film to take a superhero story back in time, as X-Men: First Class also rebooted the original X-Men films’ time line by going back to the ’60s.
Captive State releases March 15.