Last week, we reported that Channing Tatum had unexpectedly left X-Men franchise spinoff Gambit, in which he was set to produce and star. Those reports seem to have been premature: The Hollywood Reporter, well, reported that Tatum has struck a deal with 20th Century Fox to stay with the project.
In the short time between the announcement that Tatum was leaving and the announcement that he was staying aboard, speculation as to why he left the project ran rampant. One popular bit of guesswork suggested that compensation was a concern – THR cites sources calling it a “sticking point” – meaning that Tatum’s departure could have been a play for more money or to give him better leverage in negotiations with the studio. THR also suggests that Fox wants Tatum – and by extension the Gambit character – as a flagship actor for the X-Men franchise moving forward; a player who can star in both solo and ensemble films, similar to Hugh Jackman. His Wolverine has been the ostensible star of the franchise since the original film in 2000, but he’s publicly stated his intentions to leave the character behind after the upcoming sequel to The Wolverine.
Anyway, it was touch-and-go for all the Gambit fans out there – basically all the kids who grew up in the ’90s who weren’t cool enough to be into Spider-Man or Wolverine – but all seems to be right in the world now. Tatum’s departure always seemed a bit unreal, considering the movie exists almost entirely thanks to him. Gambit, set to begin filming in October for a 2016 release, will be directed by Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt based on a script by Josh Zetumer.