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When 20th Century Fox first announced that they would be making a Gambit movie, it was largely driven by the presence of Channing Tatum - who has been campaigning for the lead role in the project for a while now. Unfortunately, it now looks as though it might all be crumbling apart, as new reports are saying that the actor is making plans to leave the production.
Gambit has been making slow steps towards production recently, having only hired director Rupert Wyatt to helm a few weeks ago, but now The Wrap is saying that the deal between Channing Tatum and 20th Century Fox is in serious jeopardy and may fall apart. If this happens, the actor will be walking away from his first superhero role - though it's not yet clear if he plans to stay on board as a producer.
While Channing Tatum's presence has been a huge factor in the fast-tracked development of this feature, it doesn't appear as though his absence is going to slow Fox down as they try to expand their X-Men franchise. The trade report suggests that producers Simon Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner are still producing the project, and it's noted that Rupert Wyatt will soon have to start hunting for their new leading man.
Exactly why Channing Tatum is considering leaving is a big question that sadly doesn't have an answer at this point. It's hard to imagine that he was clashing with Rupert Wyatt, as he had a hand in the director's selection. Perhaps 20th Century Fox started to change their vision of the film, and this is what wound up driving the star away? The Wrap says that Tatum "has larger ambitions, which may play a role in the situation as it currently stands," though it's unclear exactly what that means - either in the context of his career or the X-Men franchise. Surely we will hear an update about where things stand soon.
Teased just a few weeks ago at San Diego Comic-Con, Gambit is being planned as the fourth solo film released as part of Fox's most successful Marvel franchise, following in the footsteps of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, and the upcoming Deadpool. The plan is to have the movie go into production in the next few weeks, as the blockbuster has already been dated for October 7, 2016 (which would make it the third X-Men movie released that year). If Channing Tatum does wind up leaving, it will mean that the production will have to move fast to try and find a replacement - but given the significance of the role, there will surely be plenty of performers who would love the gig.
If this all plays out, who do you think could replace Channing Tatum in Gambit?