Channing Tatum may be starring in next year’s Gambit, but it was Taylor Kitsch who first brought the character to life six years ago in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Kitsch’s performance has its share of supporters and detractors, but when rumors of a new Gambit movie surfaced, some wondered whether Kitsch would reprise his role. That wasn’t in the cards (pun fully intended), but fortunately for Tatum, Kitsch doesn’t have any problem with him taking over the role.
Kitsch revealed to The Daily Beast that he didn’t audition for Gambit again before Channing was cast, but believes the Magic Mike XXL star will be a worthy successor. He said:
Um…no, I didn’t have a go. Ever since we finished the movie, it’s never really been an option. But no, I wish [Channing] nothing but the best. It was a fun character to play, and I learned a lot working with Hugh [Jackman] and had an amazing time in Australia. I’m sure they’re doing their own thing with it, and I’m sure Channing will be great.
In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the titular mutant tracked down Gambit in New Orleans to lead him to William Stryker’s mutant prison, as the card shark was the only person to ever escape. After briefly fighting Wolverine (he believed he was being recaptured), Gambit agreed to help and flew the clawed mutant to Stryker’s compound. He later returned to help out and told the amnesiac Wolverine that his name was Logan before they went their separate ways. Gambit’s real name Remy LeBeau, and he was also seen on a computer screen in X2: X-Men United, and Bryan Singer planned to include him in X-Men: The Last Stand, but the character was ultimately cut.
Because the franchise’s timeline was altered in X-Men: Days of Future Past, it’s unclear how similar Tatum’s Gambit will be to Kitsch’s in terms of personality and history. Heck, we still don’t even know whether the new Gambit will be adventuring in the 1980s like before or will somehow be living it up in the modern day. Regardless, Tatum has already begun preparing for the role, including learning how to throw playing cards from a magician and planning to model the Cajun accent on someone from the South. Gambit will be the third X-Men character to get a standalone film, following Wolverine and Deadpool. As for Kitsch, he’s since gone on to star in films like John Carter, Battleship, and The Normal Heart, and can currently be seen on HBO’s True Detective.
Gambit hits theaters on October 7, 2016.