Fox has canceled the October 7, 2016 release date for Channing Tatum’s Gambit movie, and announced the release dates for two untitled Marvel projects, the first on October 6, 2017 and the second on January 12, 2018.

At the moment, that’s all we know, although it’s hardly surprising. There will definitely be a Deadpool sequel, and Gambit was never going to be done in time to come out this year, not when it hasn’t even started filming yet. Ergo, the logical assumption is that Gambit has been pushed back a full year to October 6, 2017 and Deadpool 2 will drop on January 12, 2018.

But would Fox really want to put out Deadpool 2 in January? Generally, when a movie like Deadpool blows away all box office projections and breaks records worldwide the studio figures, “We have no idea how this happened, but we’d better put out the sequel over that same weekend a couple of years from now since it clearly worked the first time.” As such, you’d think Deadpool 2 would be a Valentine’s Day movie just like its predecessor. Maybe that’s not possible since the final Fifty Shades movie and an untitled Warner Bros. animation project are already due that weekend in 2018 followed by Marvel Studios’ Black Panther a week later.

What if none of this has anything to do with either Gambit or Deadpool 2? Fox has long been developing X-Force, which surely moved up on the priority list since the Merc with a Mouth has always been vital to the team of mercenaries which make up the X-Force unit in the comics. Furthermore, Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone was hired last May to co-write and direct The New Mutants, an X-Men spin-off I think of as X-Men: The Next Generation. Maybe these two new release dates are for those movies.

new-mutants-imageThat still seems simple enough. There are roughly four candidates for the two new release dates.

-Devil’s advocate: what if Gambit has actually been canceled altogether?

Whoa there. Where the hell did that come from?

-They did just “cancel” the release date, and if they’re pushing it back a year why not tell us that?

Umm…..

-Plus, Gambit has thus far followed in the grand X-Men movie tradition of being a troubled production.

True. Its first director, Rupert Wyatt, dropped out last September after just four months on the job, and last I checked their pick for a replacement, Doug Liman, hadn’t officially taken the job even though everyone assumes The Hollywood Reporter saying he was “near a deal” is the same as “finished a deal.”

In fact, there has been next to no news about this movie for quite a while other than producer Simon Kinberg indicating he hoped they could start in the Spring and that they’d film in New Orleans. Tatum’s already booking other projects, like a musical comedy with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and 23 Jump Street. Several of the actresses, including Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation‘s Rebecca Ferguson, in the running for the female lead have already moved on.

-So, like I said, this movie is dead, dead, dead

Not necessarily. It just means that this movie, which clearly wasn’t ready to start filming yet, is no longer officially tied to a release date thus giving them the extra time to get things right. Delaying it a year, if indeed that’s what they’re doing, should hopefully give them the time to pull it together and possibly make any course corrections they deem fit in a post-Deadpool world.

-Fine. Whatever. Let’s wrap this up.

X-Men comic book fans have long argued about Deadpool and Gambit, particularly the latter since he’s just as likely to end up on a list of most overrated X-Men characters as he is to be ranked among the best X-Men characters of all time. Well, now Deadpool not only has his own movie but an insta-film franchise. Gambit? Well, they’re still figuring out what to do with him. He’s officially off the schedule now, but that doesn’t mean he’s gone for good.

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

3 Comments

  1. I’ll be completely honest, I’ve never read a classic marvel comic in my life. But I have a pretty fair knowledge of who’s who and am prepared to do my research into characters when the films are announced. I did just that for ‘Watchmen’ (graphic novel I know), ‘Suicide Squad’, ‘Deadpool’, ‘Doctor Strange’, and ‘Gambit’ amongst others and I’m pretty excited to see how Gambit is portrayed on the big screen. I think because of his relatively muted impact on the comic universe as a whole his allure is even stronger because there is so much potential to make something completely fresh and exciting, in the same way Deadpool did this year. Throw in a certain creative freedom and Channing Tatum could make a worthy addition to the ‘minor marvel universe’ as I will call it.

    I think despite Cumberbatch’s global fame he’ll bring something incredible to Doctor Strange that we have never seen before either from him or in the MCU and for that I am chomping at the bit.

    Reply

    1. I’ll occasionally do the same thing, but I’ve discovered that with comic book movies ignorance can be bliss. Seeing Deadpool for me was just about seeing a good movie. Still haven’t read a full Deadpool comic. However, when I see Suicide Squad in August I’ll be going in as someone who’s read just about everything Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have written for Harley Quinn. I can tell from the trailers that the oddly innocent-seeming, sweet-natured, but so thoroughly fucked up and occasionally fourth-wall breaking version of Harley Quinn I know and love will not quite be the one in the movie, and it’s filling me with immense dread. I’m still debating whether to jump into some Doctor Strange comics, or to leave it alone and just go to the movie for Cumberbatch magic.

      Back on topic, you are right – Gambit presents the opportunity for them to capture the essence of the character in a mostly new story which can become the character’s definitive origin story.

      As Vulture argued last June:

      “There are some basic tenets they’ll have to mind in order to avoid fan outcry: Gambit has to be (a) named Remy LeBeau, (b) a mutant, (c) able to turn objects (usually playing cards) into little bombs when he touches them, (d) a drawl-heavy Louisiana Cajun, (e) a bit of a lowlife hustler, and (f) something of a ladies’ man. If those boxes get checked, everyone who grew up watching the animated X-gang will have their nostalgia adequately served. From there, the filmmakers can get to work on building a story that’s wholly new — a phenomenon that’s sadly rare in the superhero-movie boom.

      Give us a heist movie! Give us a The Sting–esque tale of con artists and rubes! Give us a colorful romp through modern New Orleans! Hell, give us a wacky rom-com about Gambit and Rogue! As long as the flick is equal parts sexy and silly (and lord knows Tatum is great at being both), and as long as it hits most of the marks that folks remember from their cartoon-watching youths, just go wild, mon cher.”

      Reply

  2. […] in the director’s chair. Gambit is on life support after having already lost two directors and missed its originally announced release date. X-Force (about a more militant, R-Rated offshoot of the X-Men) is being held back to be introduced […]

    Reply

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