Channing Tatum Really Wants to Play Gambit In the MCU

By Pierre Chanliau Updated:
Channing Tatum Gambit X-Men Mutant

Gambit was originally in development at Fox Studios beginning in 2014 as a spin-off of the X-Men franchise, which would have starred Channing Tatum as the titular character. However, Tatum had intended to play Gambit long before that, as he was almost cast as the mutant in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand before the character was scrapped at the last minute.

Originally intended to release in theaters on March 13, 2020, Gambit was canceled in May 2019 shortly after Disney finalized the merger with Fox. Not much was known about the project before its cancellation aside from the intended premise and certain cast members like Get Out star Lil Rey Howery.

Seeing Gambit canceled hurt Tatum deeply, but he is still willing to play the explosive thief, despite his many setbacks in trying to play him on the big screen.

Channing Tatum Was Hurt at Loss of Gambit

Gambit, Channing Tatum

In an interview with Variety while promoting his new movie, Dog, actor Channing Tatum spoke about the lead-up to the X-Men spin-off Gambit being canceled. Tatum was previously set to co-direct and star as the titular mutant.

After Disney merged with Fox, Gambit was one of many movies on the chopping block in 2019. Tatum's producing partner, Reid Carolin, believed that Disney had planned to "redesign the ‘X-Men’ from the ground up” after the buyout. Tatum himself was devastated when the movie fell through.

Tatum was "so traumatized" when Gambit was no longer in his hands, to the point of having sworn off watching any movies produced by Marvel Studios and that losing Gambit "was like losing a friend:"

“I shut off my Marvel machine. I haven’t been able to see any of the movies. I loved that character. It was just too sad. It was like losing a friend because I was so ready to play him.”

Carolin wishes that Disney would reconsider "because it’s a pretty great project,” noting, “maybe someday” they will. As for Tatum, he said that he'd still be willing to play Gambit if Disney were to give him the chance, noting that if given a film again, "I don’t think we should direct it:"

“Uh, yeah, I would love to play Gambit. I don’t think we should direct it. I think that was hubris on our part.”

Any Future as Gambit Has Fizzled by Now

It's rather doubtful that Marvel Studios will be willing to cast Channing Tatum as Gambit in any future X-Men movies. Tatum is already in his 40s, and audiences still don't know when the next X-Men movie will be coming out, which could still be half a decade away.

Considering how young Marvel Studios is skewing for its new characters, who would want to stick around for at least a decade, it will likely be the same for the X-Men characters, many of whom are teenagers or young adults still finding themselves. By the time production even begins on any X-Men film, Tatum could be nearing his 50s, and that's if the studio even has any plans to use Gambit.

- About The Author: Pierre Chanliau
Pierre Chanliau began as a news & feature writer for The Direct at the site's launch in 2020. As a longtime reader of superhero comic books, Pierre's knowledge of Marvel and DC is extensive, informing his reporting and editorial pieces regarding the MCU and DCU.