If a major movie studio has a comic book property in their possession, you can bet that they’re doing everything in their power to get it into production while the sub-genre remains red-hot. So the case of 20th Century Fox’s Gambit remains a head-scratcher. The studio’s surprising success with Deadpool, which was a relatively low-budget gamble compared to presumed sure-fire successes like the domestically disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse, has changed the game not only for R-rated superhero films, but for slightly less well-known characters shouldering the marquee, as well.
But until we see a few more successful copycats of the Deadpool model, I’m of the opinion that it was an exception, not the rule. That might explain the delay in the standalone film for the Cajun X-Man. But as super-producer Lauren Shuler Donner confirmed today during TCA 2017 for FX’s upcoming superhero series Legion, Fox hasn’t scrapped the film just yet and star Channing Tatum is still attached, for now.
In addition to producing Gambit, Shuler Donner has been an integral player behind the scenes of such superhero fare, past and present, as the entirety of the X-Men film franchise, the Wolverine spin-offs, and the newly minted Deadpool franchise and all that it entails. Questions posed to Shuler Donner after the Legion panel attempted to encompass all of these projects, starting with the surprising success of Deadpool:
“Listen, it took us 10 years to get it made, so yes I’m surprised! I’m thrilled, is a better word.”
Recently, talk has been more focused on Deadpool 2 and its expected casting of the complicated superhero Cable. We know that Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead will return for the sequel as well, but the casting for Cable has yet to be announced. Here’s Shuler Donner’s update:
“No casting announcement. It will happen soon. When the right time comes along and we’re ready. We have a list.”
Crafting Cable’s origin story in a way that streamlines his introduction but honors his comic book backstory is going to be a tough challenge, but screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese seem up to the task. But there are bigger challenges ahead for the Merc with a Mouth’s sequel:
“Every time you have a big success, even after X-Men 1 doing X-Men 2, it’s a bit daunting. Now the bar is raised, now you’re not just telling a story and establishing character, we have to do it better than we did it before and still be new and fresh. So that sort of bar … to still be fresh and original and be better.”
Now, as I mentioned earlier on, Shuler Donner responded to the question of whether or not Deadpool‘s success has helped or hurt the Gambit movie:
“Well, only that it’s a solo spinoff, that’s the only thing. They are different animals.”
Expectedly, a casting question followed and Shuler Donner confirmed:
Is Channing Tatum still attached?
“At this point, yes.”
What’s he’s doing to prepare?
“You’ll have to ask Channing.”
The next time you guys see Tatum, be sure to ask him what he’s up to preparing for his role as Remy LeBeau. And be sure to share your thoughts, feelings, anticipation and/or lack of it for the eventual (inevitable?) Gambit movie in the comments below!