X-Men Spin-Off Gambit Finally Lands a Great Director

By  · Published on June 15th, 2015

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Late last month, report spread around the web that Fox was having trouble finding someone to direct Gambit, the X-Men spin-off that will star Channing Tatum as the titular mutant. With little more than a year away from release, though, the studio had to hire someone quick. According to Entertainment Weekly, Fox has signed Rupert Wyatt for the gig, and that’s hardly the sort of desperate choice I was expecting given the previous buzz.

Wyatt previously made Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a surprisingly strong reboot that’s almost like a superhero movie, and last year’s The Gambler (pictured above), which is probably my pick for the most underrated movie of 2014. The latter dealt with playing cards, of course, and Gambit (real name: Remy LeBeau) is a character known for using cards as weapons once he charges them up with explosive kinetic energy.

The Gambler also features John Goodman in a terrific supporting role. Goodman is a resident of New Orleans, which is where at least most of the origin-focused Gambit has to take place. The character is a Cajun who, before joining the X-Men, started out on the streets of the Big Easy as a member of a thieves’ guild. Although we saw the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as played by Taylor Kitsch, that’s all to be forgotten.

It’s unclear whether any other X-Men characters will show up (I’m hoping Alexandra Shipp’s mohawked Storm does). Aside from Wolverine obligatorily showing up in a post-credits teaser for his final Hugh Jackman-led movie, that is. If anyone has an idea of a character that Goodman could play from Gambit’s past, I’m all ears. And then hopefully the studio will be, too.

Gambit is due in theaters on October 7, 2016, following two other X-Men franchise installments – Deadpool in February and X-Men: Apocalypse in May.

Related Topics:

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.