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Channing Tatum Talks Being 'Traumatized' After Losing The Gambit Spinoff

Gambit Marvel Comics artwork
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Back when 20th Century Studios was still the separate film studio 20th Century Fox and controlled the film rights to the X-Men property, Gambit was one of the many projects in development for the superhero franchise. In 2014, it was announced that Magic Mike star Channing Tatum would play the popular mutant character, but the Gambit spinoff went through a long development period. By May 2019, the project was officially shelved, and Tatum is now saying that this decision “traumatized” him.

Channing Tatum discussed his time on Gambit in a Variety profile, saying how the character appealed to him because he was “just the coolest person” and could “pull anything off,” particularly when it came to fashion. When Disney decided not to move forward with Gambit after acquiring Fox, it hit Tatum hard, with the actor saying: 

Once Gambit went away, I was so traumatized. I shut off my Marvel machine. I haven’t been able to see any of the movies. I loved that character. It was just too sad. It was like losing a friend because I was so ready to play him.

Losing the Gambit spinoff was bad enough for Channing Tatum that it turned him off from watching any Marvel-related movies, and it’s understandable. Gambit was more than just an opportunity for him to play a superhero in a tentpole picture; he was developing the project with producing partner Reid Carolin for almost half a decade. Although Gambit, a.k.a. Remy LeBeau, was previously played by Taylor Kitsch in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Tatum worked hard to give the character a platform to shine on his own. In the end, the pieces just didn’t fall into place to make the spinoff a reality.

While no official plot details for Gambit were ever released, the spinoff was described as being tonally similar to tonally similar to Deadpool. However, one of the big obstacles, Channing Tatum and Carolin Reid faced with getting Gambit off the ground was 20th Century Fox’s unwillingness to let them direct the project. In Tatum’s words:

The studio really didn’t want us to direct it. They wanted anybody but us, essentially, because we had never directed anything.

Because Channing Tatum loved the Gambit script that Reid Carolin co-wrote so much, he eventually obliged to letting someone else direct. Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ Rupert Wyatt signed on to Gambit in summer 2015 as the director (back when it was envisioned as a mutant mob movie), but by the following September, he departed due to scheduling conflicts. Chaos Walking’s Doug Liman succeeded Wyatt by the end of 2016, but he too left Gambit by summer 2016 after feeling that he wasn’t connecting to the script. Finally, Gore Verbinski, director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, signed on to helm Gambit in October 2017, but withdrew from it at the start of 2018 due to a own scheduling conflict, though creative differences also reportedly factored into the decision.

From there, Gambit went through re-development and changed into a romantic comedy, focusing on Remy LeBeau’s relationship with Belladonna Boudreaux. Producer Simon Kinberg also revealed a year after Disney put the kibosh on Gambit, that Mister Sinister would have been featured, thus following up on the Essex Corporation tease in X-Men: Apocalypse’s post-credits scene. Ultimately Gambit was one of the many casualties of the Disney/Fox merger, with some of the other X-Men movies that were scrapped including X-Force, New Mutants sequels, an X-23 spinoff and Multiple Man.

As things stand now, while the X-Men are expected to rebooted within the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some point, we have no idea who will comprise the team’s lineup. If Marvel Studios decides it wants to throw Gambit into the mix, perhaps it’ll entertain the notion of looking at Channing Tatum during the casting process (it couldn’t hurt to look at Anson Mount for the role too). Should that happen, we here at CinemaBlend will let you know about it, as well as any other notable news about upcoming Marvel movies.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.