Fox's X-Men movies were the MCU before the actual MCU became a thing. Back then, Fox had some ambitious plans for their own X-Men cinematic universe, with spinoff movies for individual X-Men characters. For the longest time, Channing Tatum was attached to play the lead in a standalone movie as Remy Etienne LeBeau aka Gambit, a mutant with the ability to manipulate kinetic energy to make objects explode.
Gambit was initially offered to filmmaker Rupert Wyatt. When talks with Wyatt fell through, Gore Verbinski, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame came on board the project, before he also walked away from the film. Now, in an interview with Collider, Gore Verbinski explained why his Gambit movie never happened, mainly as a result of bad timing and lack of a good script.
"The script we never got to a place where everybody was in agreement. I mean, I got a call from the studio saying, 'We have this project, 'Gambit', do you want to do it?' And they had said, 'It shoots right away.' And I said, 'Well, I don't know. Let me, think about it.' And I forget what was happening. There was something schedule-wise where it was actually going to be maybe a good thing if it happened quickly. Then it was like, the script just didn't get there. Then I had other stuff that was more important to me, and I think other people had other things. So it was like a short window where if it happened, it was going to happen immediately with a lot of urgency."
It seems, much like with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox was more interested in pushing out an X-Men movie quickly rather than waiting for the project to evolve organically. In the past, Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Ruper Wyatt, who was first offered the Gambit movie, had confirmed that his take on the project fell through because of budget concerns.
"Fantastic Four came out, did not do very well for Fox, [and] they decided to lower our budget. We were 12 weeks out, we couldn't recover. The script needed a huge amount of rewriting in order to fit that budget, and ultimately the powers that be chose not to go down that road, so the film didn't happen. And then of course whatever happened after me with other directors, I have no idea. What I do know is that Channing Tatum and his producing partner Reid Carolin had an amazing idea of what that movie was going to be, and Josh Zeutemer, the writer, as well. It was terrific, it was a really exciting sort of Godfather with mutants set in the world of New Orleans with different gangs."
Now that the X-Men belong to Disney, the iconic mutants are set to make their triumphant debut in the MCU. Hopefully, Channing Tatum will be allowed to finally portray Gambit as he had planned to for so long, even if it's going to likely be a very different version of the character from what Fox had intended. This news comes from Collider.