Fox’s planned X-Men spinoffs, including the long-gestating Channing Tatum-led Gambit, are being reevaluated by new owners Disney, according to franchise writer-producer and Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg.
“All of the movies at Fox are being evaluated,” Kinberg told Variety. “I love the idea of Channing playing Gambit. I think we have a great script for it and I think it’s a role he was born to play. It’s a character I grew up loving and I know the fans love. So I suspect, I hope it will happen.” The formally Fox-controlled characters, especially Deadpool, will be folded under the Marvel Studios banner, allowing mutants as well as characters like the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer opportunities to crossover with the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“There will be a lot of mixing and merging now and I’m all for it and excited to see,” Kinberg said, before pointing to Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) as the character he most wants to see in an X-Men movie.
“I would say probably either somebody from Wakanda or Iron Man. I mean I love Robert, I’ve worked with him,” he said. “I love what he does with that character. I feel like he created the tonal template for the MCU with the first Iron Man movie. And so the notion of Iron Man popping up in X-Men or Iron Man interacting with Deadpool is pretty exciting.”
Gambit first switched hands from Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) to Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), and once again to Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl). Left directorless, star and producer Tatum was said to be interested in stepping behind the camera and making Gambit his directorial debut.
More recently, Wyatt said Gambit was derailed by Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot, which went down in flames in August 2015.
“We were close, I believe 10 weeks away. It simply came down to budget. There was not enough,” Wyatt told Comics Beat of the delay that forced him to exit the project.
“You know all too well about the politics of the business. Fantastic Four had been released by Fox a month before and had not gone well for them, so our budget was slashed quite considerably. The inevitable, from my perspective was, ‘Well then we need to rewrite the script to tailor to our budget,’ but we were too close to a start date for Fox to really want to go there, so unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.”
Kinberg characterizes Gambit as carrying a “romantic comedy” vibe, inspired by the womanizer personality of the kinetically-charged mutant-slash-master thief.
“You know, when I say romantic comedy, I use that term loosely, in the same term that I use the term western for Logan loosely,” Kinberg told IGN in September. “It’s not like they’re gunslingers at high noon in Logan. It’s just a vibe. And I would say the vibe of Gambit has a romantic or sex comedy vibe to it. While it is also still very much a superhero movie with villains and heroes, as all these movies are.”
Other X-Verse spinoffs in the works at Fox before its acquisition by Disney included Multiple Man as a vehicle for James Franco and a secret project penned by comic book scribe Brian Michael Bendis, suspected to be a Kitty Pryde movie.
Dark Phoenix is due out June 7.