The X-Men film franchise may be entering its teenage years, but Marvel’s mutant roster has never been hotter. This summer’s The Wolverine (more or less) made up for the disappointing entry that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine and essentially jumpstarted buzz for next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Beyond that film, the future of the X-Men franchise is a bit more uncertain. Fox seems keen on pushing an X-Force film (written by Kick-Ass 2 writer/director Jeff Wadlow) out next, though what shape or form that project will take remains to be seen. The X-Men universe has such a rich array of characters that it has already introduced on the big screen, and given the limitless possibilities, any of those could potentially return in a future film. Now, one star has spoken out about which character he’d like to play.
According to Slash Film, Channing Tatum mentioned at a recent press event that he wants to bring Cajun mutant Gambit to life on the big screen. Here’s what the White House Down and Magic Mike star had to say:
“I would like to play Gambit. Gambit’s my favorite. I’m from New Orleans, around that area. My dad’s from New Orleans, and I like to do a Cajun accent. I could do it for real. No knock on Taylor Kitsch [who played the character in 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'], though, ’cause I actually like his Gambit, but I’ve always lived around Cajun people. [...] Gambit was always like the woman-loving, cigarette-smoking, drinking [guy]. He was the punk rock of all the superheroes. He’s a thief. He kind of rode the line.”
Many X-Men fans share Tatum’s love of the character, but as he mentions, the role was already filled by Kitsch in a previous film. Kitsch’s portrayal of Gambit did receive mixed reactions from fans, largely because the character’s long-awaited appearance was so brief. There’s also the problem of his placement within the timeline of the X-Men films. X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes place roughly sometime in the late 1970s, before Wolverine loses his memory and long before he ever becomes a bonafide X-Man.
If Fox really wished to bring Gambit back into the picture, there’s no doubt they could find a way to do so (after all, they’re about to bring time travel into the mix in Days of Future Past). However, the studio has already gotten enough flack from hardcore fans regarding the series’ already-convoluted continuity, and director Bryan Singer has revealed that he plans to clean some of that up in Days of Future Past.
If Fox ever decided to reboot the Gambit character (retconning or ignoring his Origins appearance), Tatum does sound like a viable choice, as he would bring a touch of star power and seems to have a genuine love of the character. Plus, the fact that Kitsch had back-to-back box office disappointments in John Carter and Battleship means that re-casting is a more likely option.
However, the bigger question isn’t whether or not Tatum would make a good Gambit, but whether or not Fox would go back to an element of the franchise that didn’t quite work the first time rather than expanding their burgeoning X-Men cinematic universe. In other words, don’t hold your breath for a Gambit return just yet.
Robert Yaniz Jr. blogs at Screen Rant.