News recently broke that director Rupert Wyatt, of Rise of the Planet of the Apes fame, has left 20th Century Fox’s upcoming Gambit film. If ever there was a sign that the studio needs to abandon this X-Men spinoff, this is it.
When Will You Learn, Mon’Amie?
Why is Wyatt’s departure from Gambit such a bad sign of terrible things to come? It has everything to do with that dreaded October 7, 2016 release date. That’s almost exactly a year away – a pretty big deal for a film that apparently needs an extended shoot due to script changes and a larger budget, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Gambit is just one of three X-Men-related movies set to be released in 2016, alongside Deadpool on February 12 and X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27. Keep in mind that we’ve seen footage from the latter films and nothing from the ragin’ Cajun’s debut flick.
Now, X-films seem to be plagued by last-minute curveballs that can turn out really well or really, really bad. Like, “we need to rewrite continuity” bad.
Dougray Scott, for example, was originally going to play Wolverine, not Hugh Jackman. I think we’re all pretty pleased with how that turned out. And while many seem to have issues with Bryan Singer’s direction, I was perfectly fine with him taking over X-Men: Days of Future Past for Matthew Vaughn, who chose to helm Kingsman: The Secret Service instead.
On the other side of Magneto’s lethal coin is a train wreck like X-Men: The Last Stand, which Vaughn was set to direct before exiting the project (he seems to do that a lot). Rather than putting the breaks on the production, Fox opted to hire Hollywood hack Brett Ratner (aka Hack Hackner). Because, God forbid we change a set release date in favor of creating a good movie.
If only Fox had a more recent silver screen disaster from which they could learn a lesson. Too bad there wasn’t a summer release that was plagued by production issues and really should have been put on ice before it made it to the theaters.
I’m of course alluding to Fantastic Four, which still haunts my dreams each night.
The point is, Fox, you’ve lost the director who’s been planning your Gambit movie. Are we going to go the Ant-Man route and bring in another person to finish what Wyatt started to ensure you hit that October 7 delivery date?
You could always put the breaks on this project in an effort to create a truly great Gambit film. But then, is that even possible?
Really, What’s The Appeal, Mes Ami?
Before you throw a handful of super-charged comments my way, I need to say I was never a Gambit fan growing up. I wasn’t one of those kids who loved the “cool” and “edgy” Remy LeBeau, Bishop, Cable or even Wolverine. My favorite X-Man was and still is Cyclops – something people feel more comfortable admitting now than they did in the 1990s.
But yeah, I never saw the appeal of this Cajun bad boy or his love interest Rogue, who I always found annoying. I didn’t find him very interesting in the comics either. There was that whole X-Traitor mystery (he wasn’t the X-Traitor, it was Professor X, or Onslaught, or something), and then it was revealed he played a role in the infamous Mutant Massacre.
Yeah, that time Mr. Sinister’s Marauders murdered a ton of innocent Morlocks in the sewers of New York City – that was all Gambit’s fault. LOL!
It was like writers didn’t know what to do with Gambit, because he later joined Apocalypse and became Death, one of the ancient mutant’s Four Horseman (because he saw how well that worked for Archangel, I guess). Then THAT whole plot point was eventually swept under the rug. Last time I saw Gambit in a comic I think he was a member of the latest incarnation of X-Factor.
Gambit also can’t seem to keep a solo comic book series going. So, TOTALLY GIVE THIS GUY A FILM FRANCHISE.
Channing Tatum, Chère?
Yeah, sorry to anyone reading this who has a crush on Channing Tatum, but is he really the first actor who pops into your head when you think of Gambit? To date, I’ve only seen the man in four movies – G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, This is the End and Foxcatcher. While he was good in Foxcatcher and funny in This is the End, neither performance made me think he’d make the ideal Gambit.
Notice how I just glossed over the two G.I. Joe films?
I don’t know, maybe it’s Tatum’s buff, male stripper physique that’s throwing me off. While every comic book character seemed to be on steroids in the 1990s, I feel like Taylor Kitsch, the first actor to play a live-action Gambit in the garbage pile that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, provided a better representation of what a real-life Lebeau would look like.
Also, something very important we need to keep in mind is that this whole project seems to exist just because Tatum said he’d like to play Gambit while doing press for White House Down back in 2013. Here’s the Total Film video in which Tatum explains why he’d like to portray Gambit.
“He was the punk rock of all the superheroes.” Okay.
First We Write Da Movie, Den We Blow It Up!
My final reason why we don’t need this Gambit movie – legendary X-scribe Chris Claremont apparently wrote the treatment for the script. Yes, Claremont, Gambit’s creator, gave us the foundation on which all modern X-stories, across media, are built. Unfortunately, nearly every X-story he’s gifted to us since returning to Marvel (after departing from the X-Universe in 1991’s X-Men #3) really hasn’t met the standards he established for himself long ago. How great can a Gambit story from the man who gave us 46 issues of X-Treme X-Men really be?
I mean, I could be wrong about everything. Gambit may end up being an uncanny entry into Fox’ extended X-Men movieverse. Or, it could further complicate a film series that has managed to replicate the convoluted nature of the X-Men’s comic book franchise.
Hopefully dis whole project don’ blow up in Fox’s faces…like that one exploding card that temporarily blinded Gambit.