When you hear talk of the standalone Gambit movie, most — well, pretty much all — of it has the word “delay” in there somewhere. The movie started off strong: Channing Tatum signed on for the title character, it had a director, and everything looked good. Then, the first delay happened, it lost director Rupert Wyatt, got a new one, and was delayed some more. But fans of the trickster need not lose hope yet: X-Men producer Laura Schuler Donner says Tatum is still signed on to do a standalone Gambit movie in the future. We just don’t know when.

At this week’s Television Critics Association event, Donner answered a ton of questions about the future of the X-Men onscreen, including about what the FX show Legion’s relationship to the movies will be, and whether or not we’ll ever see that Gambit movie.

It doesn’t sound like there are any definite plans in motion so it’ll be quite a while before we see this happen, but it’s good to know that Tatum still has faith in the project. For now, it’s going to be an issue of scheduling: 20th Century Fox would have to fit it into their already-lengthy X-Men release schedule, a director and screenwriters and more cast members would have to commit, and Tatum himself would have to find room for it in his schedule that seems to be growing busier by the day.

But the fact that after all this time they haven’t scrapped the project is good news. Producer Simon Kinberg explained that the most recent delay in production happened because they were working really hard on evening out the tone:

We’ve got to get the script right. We just didn’t get the script to the place where we all thought the movie deserved. So we’re still working on the script. We’re very close, actually, to being done with the script. And the hope is that Channing [Tatum] has a couple of movies he has to shoot, but that we would shoot at the end of this year, or the beginning of next year.

It’s looking really good. I’m not going to say anything about it content-wise. I think one of the things that I’ve learnt on all these movies – and maybe the lesson was best learned for me on Deadpool – is the most important thing is getting the tone and the voice right. That the storytelling, the actual narrative, the plots are sort of interchangeable and disposable, ultimately.

The X-Men movies are certainly doing some cool experiments with tone. Last year’s Deadpool proved that a raunchy, R-rated, fourth wall-breaking superhero movie could absolutely work, and the vibe of Logan seems so far removed from the overall X-Men series that it’s hardly a superhero movie at all. Taking the time to find the right voice for Gambit shows that the folks behind X-Men are doing all they can to prevent their movies from becoming cookie-cutter versions of themselves, exactly the same every time. And with most of us reaching a point of superhero movie saturation, it’s time for the studios to start trying something different.


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