I love the X-Men. Always have, always will, and despite whatever ups and downs comes with the various creator, lineup, and character changes, I will be a fan for life.
So imagine my utter disappointment and fan rage after walking out of Brett Ratner’s less than impressive sequel X-Men: The Last Stand, which many considered to be the end of the franchise. Too many characters jammed into a mish mash of storylines taken from the comics that sometimes conflicted with each other while failing to grasp the heart of any of of those storylines.
Hope was renewed with Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class, which successfully re-invigorated the franchise by taking the story back to its core and focusing on the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, a relationship that forever defined the X-Men. While not perfect and rife with continuity inconsistencies which are bound to happen after 4 films and 2 Wolverine spin-offs, First Class gave the series a much needed kick in the ass.
Reports are coming in from the first early viewings of X-Men: Days of Future Past (including our own early screening at the New York World Premiere) and the reaction is better than I could have hoped for, which only further pumps up the X-franchise as it re-develops. With DoFP almost upon us, we have been hearing a ton of news regarding the sequel, which we know will be called X-Men: Apocalypse. While some of the rumors are good, one report has us shaking our heads.
Let’s start with the good news first. When discussing Apocalypse, Bryan Singer stated that the film would be exploring the start of the X-Men that we saw featured in the original trilogy, which meant we would see how the primary characters of Scott Summers (Cyclops), Jean Grey, and Ororo Munroe (Storm) became the first group of X-Men.
This obviously opens many avenues of storytelling for these characters, with new young actors in the roles that could mean we finally get to see some of our favorite storylines done right, most notably the Dark Phoenix saga. We’ve also heard rumors that Nightcrawler might also be appearing in Apocalypse, which is said to be set in the ’80s.
There has also been discussion that not only would fan-favorite character Gambit feature in Apocalypse, but possibly receive his own spin-off film as well. Gambit was previously played on screen by Taylor Kitsch in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and to his credit he wasn’t the worst thing about the movie.
The only celebrity name recently attached to the character was first rumored by Lauren Shuler Donner, who stated that she would love to see Channing Tatum in the role of Remy LeBeau. Today we did receive something of a confirmation from the longtime X-producer that Channing Tatum will in fact play Gambit, and the deal was already done. Donner spoke with Total Film at the DoFP premiere, where she discussed a little about X-Force, Deadpool, and of course, Channing Tatum:
First off, with the characters of Scott, Jean, and Ororo presumably being recast with younger actors, Tatum’s Gambit will almost certainly look and feel older to the rest of the team, which might provide a bit of a disconnect between the characters. We have seen that Tatum can still be cast for the younger roles, especially with his play on the theme in both 21 Jump Street and the upcoming 22 Jump Street, so that isn’t the biggest issue. Especially since we don’t know for sure what kind of role Gambit will have in Apocalypse.
We have seen that he can balance the physicality of his action roles with the humor of his comedic ones, which would actually play well for the character of Gambit. And with Tatum’s childhood spent on the bayou in Louisiana and Mississippi, he certainly should have an affinity for the specific Cajun upbringing of Remy, yet we still have our doubts.
As the X-franchise restarts itself with what are sure to be a number of interesting casting announcements from Fox, this might not seem like the best first step. However, it is a bold move from Donner and the X-crew, and we will have to wait to see if this is inspired casting or the first nail in the coffin.
What do you think of Channing Tatum’s possible casting as Gambit? Are you excited to see the character of Gambit again on screen, and does Tatum’s casting change that opinion? Let us know on the GEEK Facebook page or down in the comments below!
Images: Marvel, 20th Century Fox