Hollywood! Adapt This: Marvel’s Ragin’ Cajun, GAMBIT

     February 17, 2013


With James Mangold’s much-anticipated The Wolverine opening on July 26th and Marvel’s continued success with solo superhero films, the door is wide open for some lesser-known heroes to take to the screen.  While Logan is easily the most popular and famous of the X-Men, he’s able to carry a solo film in part because his character is not defined by being a team player…quite the opposite.  So today we’ll make a case for another X-Man who has a fantastic backstory that’s not directly tied into the mutant team and possesses more than enough personality to shoulder a standalone film.  Hit the jump to find out more.  Hollywood!  Adapt this: Marvel’s ragin’ Cajun, Gambit.

Last week, I suggested that the comic-turned-video game Turok: Dinosaur Hunter be adapted for a live-action feature, especially since he’s never seen any screentime (other than an animated movie).  Gambit has been spotted in a movie once before, but the part was so small (and the movie so, so terrible) that he deserves his own storyline.

gambit-imageWhat It’s About:

Gambit, created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Jim Lee, originally appeared briefly in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 in 1990 and in earnest in Uncanny X-Men #266 that same year.  Two attempts have been made at giving Gambit his own solo comic book run, but they haven’t been all that well received (which puts a damper on my movie hopes).  In addition to being on the X-Men, Gambit also occupied the X-Force replacement team and title with Gambit & the X-Ternals.

Named Rémy Etienne LeBeau but more commonly known by his alias, Gambit is a New Orleans native who was kidnapped by the LeBeau Thieves’ Guild as a baby.  He soon gained the moniker of “Le Diable Blanc” (“the White Devil”) and was thought to be the child of prophecy who would unite the Thieves’ Guild and Assassins’ Guild and put an end to their war.  As a child orphan on the streets, he learned the art of thievery and was eventually brought into the home of the Thieves’ Guild patriarch, Jean-Luc LeBeau.

As a teen, Gambit accompanies his cousin on the “Tithing,” the ritual initiation into the Thieves’ Guild.  Needless to say, the event goes awry and Gambit finds himself captured and sold into slavery.  He uses his powers, that of controlling bio-kinetic energy, to escape and later further develops his abilities.  Gambit spent a bit of time in the employ of Mr. Sinister and even witnessed Wolverine escaping from the adamantium process of the Weapon X program while on a mission to steal some important documents.

How Could / Why Should It Be Adapted?

gambit-and-rogueThe above backstory on Gambit’s character is a lesser-known bit of his history but would make for an exciting film.  An orphan destined to bring peace to warring criminal factions who grows up as a thief, is sold into child slavery and uses his developing mutant powers to escape? Sold! To further solidify the solid standalone film that would be Gambit, let’s talk up the romantic angle a bit.

Gambit has always been smooth with the ladies.  His on again/off again romance with Rogue is among the most popular in all of comic book history, but his tales of love lost started much earlier.  The story of Gambit and Bella Donna Boudreaux is a classic comic book take on Romeo and Juliet.  Growing up as childhood friends, yet each of them not knowing that the other was a member of the rival guild, the pair eventually entered into an arranged marriage in order to put a stop to the bloodshed.  Their happiness was short-lived, however, because Bella Donna’s brother challenged Gambit to a duel…one that ended in Gambit’s banishment from New Orleans.

Are you kidding me? You’ve got an underdog hero story in the sultry setting of the New Orleans criminal underground with a tragically star-crossed romance and super powers.  What more can you ask for in a movie?

The Final Word:

x-men-gambitWith the success of Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which was more of a “romantic action film with superhero elements” than a straight-up comic book movie, I think there’s definitely a place for dramatic films that happen to feature a mutant/superhero as their protagonist.  Gambit is a perfect setup for such a film.  I would love to see Gambit’s origin story as told from birth to banishment.  His early Dickensian days appear to be modeled after that of Oliver Twist, while the Romeo and Juliet allusion can carry the story of Gambit in his teens up until the fateful duel.  Perhaps, after we see Gambit leave his hometown and wander the countryside, we get a glimpse of his future home with the X-Men and his future romance with Rogue.

Personally, I’d love it if more studios took the character-oriented approach to developing some more of the comic book properties.  Gambit isn’t a wildly over-powered hero, so he’s automatically more accessible.  He’s a gambler, a thief, a rogue, a ne’er-do-well, a charmer, a lover and a fighter.  It’s unfortunate that the general public’s only introduction to him has been through a small role played by Taylor Kitsch in the abysmal X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  It’s also a shame that Marvel doesn’t appear to have access to the character rights, but if The Wolverine is a critical and box office success, that’s a step in the right direction.  I’d much rather they left all of the comics alone than give them the Origins level of treatment, but if done right, Gambit could be a big win…as long as James Gunn isn’t involved.

Be sure to check out our previous installments of Hollywood! Adapt This! and let us know your thoughts on a Gambit adaptation in the comments below.  Tune in next week when we delve into even more corporate greed with yet another short-lived TV series that was created solely to promote a toy line.  While that doesn’t narrow it down, following these instructions should clear things up: ”You have been chosen to be the cap-bearer. Go to the mini-mart and wait for a sign.”


Around The Web
  • Modea

    Wow, what a out-of-the-box idea Collider!! Adapt a hugely popular comic character!! How about as your next idea- a found footage ghost movie!

  • Ace Ventura


    • Dave Trumbore

      Bumble Bee Tuna!

  • Aouda

    “He soon gained the moniker of “Equinsu Ocha” (“the White Devil”) and was thought to be the child of prophecy who would unite the Thieves’ Guild and Assassins’ Guild and put an end to their war.”
    You speak Wachutu!?

    • Dave Trumbore

      Whispers: Your balls are showing. Bumble Bee Tuna!

      • Jay

        That was tasteless and inappropriate, but I still laughed. AV is one of the best characters ever.

  • Robert Holik

    Great article! Now let’s talk casting..
    I’ve always wanted Josh Holloway for Gambit, let’s face it, with his looks and his amazingly badass acting, he’s the ultimate choice.. but let’s look at other options too..
    Hmm let’s see.. what about Jonathan Rhys Meyers?

    Anyone else who you think would be great?

  • Dave Trumbore

    I love Holloway and I wish he’d get more work, but since he’s in his early 40s, he’s a bit past the prime for a Gambit origin story. Later on? Sure!

    I don’t know about Meyers. He could look the part and could play a younger version, but I haven’t seen him in anything that screams “leading man.” (I haven’t seen The Tudors so I don’t know if that would change my mind.) We’ll see how he does in The Mortal Instruments.

    Honestly, I’d say go with a no-name up-and-comer and maybe *gasp* find a real Cajun actor!

  • bob

    the child slavery is a bit over the top but it could work, definitely.
    If you want cool mutants you should check the 80′s tv series The Misfits Of Science.

  • Jay

    I don’t own many comics, but I own Uncanny X-Men #266. I’m not even sure why I own it, I just know that I do. I kinda wish I sold my comics back when they were worth something, now that I think about it.

  • ScaredForMovies

    This sounds alright. I wouldn’t say Gambit is a hugely popular character. Even within the X-Men he takes a back seat. Really looking forward to Mighty Max though. Super commercial but the storyline was actually pretty cool. Pennywise himself, Tim Curry as Skullmaster and Richard Moll as Norman the Eternal warrior. It was actually a pretty dark for a cartoon series pushing a toy line.

  • Strong Enough

    Dave is running out of ideas so he takes a X-Men character to adapt? lmao

  • Bruce LeeRoy Was Here!

    Not to sure about this one. With the X-men starting back up and The Wolverine coming in July There won’t be any chance for Solo Gambit Film! I know this is what if article but they would rip a new ass hole in to this film! People have the tendency say they want something so bad and by the time they get
    It 1.don’t like who is directing it or 2.staring in it! Odds are we will see him in one the two films I said above (The Wolverine might suit him better)but solo don’t think so.

  • Kevin G

    Never liked this character. Always seemed a symbol of the fanboy-casserole post-iconic style of character creation. Dumb trenchcoat, silly costume, boring powers, shoehorned romance/romantic-rival identity, fussy/ludicrous origin – just a waste of space. Might play great with the video game crowd of today, who seem to think that terrible writing and things like Assassins Guilds are cool, but otherwise, no. Just no. This character, to me, is about 10 rungs below, say, Iron Fist on the list of characters I want to see on screen.

    • Great white hype

      Assassins guilds are so last year.

    • Trigger Happy

      Do you always waste your time reading and commenting on things you’re not interested in?

  • dude

    Hollywood already made a solo Gambit movie in 1993. It was called Hard Target.

  • choiceee

    The perfect vehicle for more box office teeny shite. I can already see it.

    • Dexterina

      Nah. Shite would be what Bryan Singer and company have already served the movie going public. The crappy, badly written X-men movies make any random Young Adult novel i.e. Twilight seem like a Pulitzer Prize winning book, not to mention that those movies have made my fiancee, various comic loving friends and I despise Wolverine and Magneto when before we were indifferent to those characters, that loathing has also passed onto the actors who play those overrated characters namely Jackman and Fasshole. McKellen did his best to spin crap into gold.

  • JVCD

    Jean Claude Van Varenburg for Gambit. Already got the Cajun accent down (see: Hard Target).

  • leathercheerio

    Deadpool first. Then this.

  • Anonymous

    Gambit Movie will work..Taylor kitsch is Gambit in his perfect age now,he can concerntrate only to master the french accent,thats all,its not a big deal and im sure he`ll make you fell satisfied this time..dont think,just make the movie already..