Exclusive: GAMBIT Story Details Are Here!
Three years ago, it was announced that Channing Tatum was in talks to play Gambit in the expanded X-Men universe. He even showed up at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con next to Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, and Jennifer Lawrence. What happened? Where’s the Gambit movie? Joshua Zetumer (Robocop, Patriots Day) was hired to write the solo project, and Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) was signed on to direct it. In August 2015, Deadline Hollywood reported that Lea Seydoux (Spectre) has been cast as BellaDonna Boudreaux. Due to “scheduling conflicts,” Rupert Wyatt bowed out. Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) was then brought on to helm the movie. He also moved on after a “mutual split” with 20th Century Fox. He later revealed it was because he wasn’t “feeling the script.” The resounding success of Deadpool and Logan has apparently changed the direction of the film. It was rumored that Frank Darabont had been hired to rewrite and direct the project.
Remy Lebeau (Channing Tatum) is on trial in New-Orleans. He’s considered a huge security risk. We flashback to almost 25 years before. Master thief Luke Lebeau runs into eight-year-old Gambit while doing a heist. Impressed by his skills, he offers to take the mutant orphan under his wings. Raised alongside other strays he calls “cousins”, the teenage Gambit becomes the superstar of the Thief Guild. He encounters Bella Donna Boudreaux while on the run from the police. Sparks immediately fly since Bella is also a fellow mutant. Their love is directly prohibited by both families since the Boudreaux are sworn enemies of the Lebeau clan. Deciding to unite the two sides, Remy offers to have the two clans team up on a HUGE heist to profit both families. Of course, the whole plan goes awry, and in the chaos, Maryanne Boudreaux shoots and kill Luke Lebeau.
We jump to 10 years later; Gambit is hired to do a job in Paris to steal something from the Louvre Museum. It was apparently a test job to see if he still has it. His mysterious employer is revealed to be Nathaniel Essex a.k.a. Mr. Sinister. He offers Gambit 40 million to recover a mysterious trunk that was stolen by the Boudreaux clan. It will be auctioned off during the yearly Thieves Ball where all the criminal organizations in the world meet up. It uses New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations as a cover. Gambit decides to enlist a crew of mutants to pull off this seemingly impossible heist…
It’s the Ocean’s 11 of the comic book genre. The big heist is reminiscent of the Ocean franchise except Gambit’s crew are all mutants. It’s quite fascinating to see since Channing Tatum just did the Redneck/Nascar version of the Ocean’s film with Logan Lucky. Gambit is an interesting character, and he’s given a fascinating backstory in this project. So why did the project stall? It’s hard to tell. The story is fantastic and moves very well. I don’t think they were far from realizing the true potential of a solo Gambit film.
It does look pale compared to Deadpool or Logan, but those movies were anomalies. Perhaps they’re looking to make an origin Gambit movie similar to those two films, but that’s a recipe for disaster. Remy Lebeau is not Wade Wilson or Wolverine, and he’s an entirely different beast. Gambit is not the right character to introduce immediately to this new and strange X-Men universe. He needs his solo films for a while. This project was the correct step in that direction.
The story is tied into the X-Men universe because it mentions the events of Days of Future Past and Apocalypse. The Boudreaux clan hires a few mutants (Rictor, Fifolet) to protect themselves. Gambit recruits Dani Moonstar, Jamie Madrox (Multiple man) for his heist. Marrow also has a significant role in the story. We also get a cool cameo from a blue X-Men regular. Nathaniel Essex is a huge part of the story. Since the post-credit scene in X-Men Apocalypse, we’ve been expecting Mr. Sinister to show up on screen. He’s one hell of a creepy dude, and his agenda is pretty nefarious. While my X-Men dream was to see Essex face off against Cyclops/Jean Grey, it’s a solid payoff to see him introduce via his strong connection to Gambit. I’ve always felt Mr. Sinister was one of the most compelling protagonists of the X-Men Universe and he does not disappoint.
With the Essex Corporation showing up in X-Men Apocalypse and perhaps Dark Phoenix, could it wreck the premise of this project? Are they keeping Mr. Sinister for a solo Cable movie? (Holy crap, wouldn’t that be awesome???) Also, Dani Moonstar is a member of the New Mutants movie that Josh Boone is directing. It’s entirely possible the entire plotline of this project has been completely scrapped and the new writer hired has started from scratch.
Screenwriting Tip: If you’re going to make a heist movie, give us multiple twists to make it interesting. There are three major twists in the third act that change the direction of the plot. A misdirection is a fantastic tool in a thriller especially if it’s done correctly. None of the twists felt redundant or cliché. Make your surprise turns entertaining and shocking.
It’s a bizarre project. Gambit is a classic anti-hero with a southern edge. He’s not overly funny like Deadpool or a savage beast like Wolverine. I think “Le Diable Blanc” deserves his spot in the X-Men Universe.