Fox has been knocking it out the park recently, silencing fans who criticized its handling of the "X-Men" universe. First, it churned out the box office hit "Deadpool," which then encouraged the studio to make yet another R-rated movie, "Logan." The latter, Hugh Jackman's finale as the title character, has also been met with resounding critical acclaim.
With eyes turned to Gambit's solo, another director, Doug Liman, has exited, leaving producer Simon Kinberg to reassure fans that "Gambit" isn't in developmental hell. Fox maintains that Channing Tatum is still slated to star as mutant thief, Remy LeBeau, and production will commence in 2018 due to the current focus on other properties such as "Deadpool 2," "New Mutants" and "X-Men: Supernova." That said, CBR has 15 nuggets of advice for the studio in the meantime on how to make a good Gambit solo flick!
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for various X-Men comics and movies
15 MISTER SINISTER
Fox missed a big chance to bring Nathaniel Essex, aka Mister Sinister, who was hinted at in the post-credits of "X-Men: Apocalypse," into play. His company, Essex Corp., collected Logan's blood, which many assumed was why X-23 debuted in "Logan." Sadly, he didn't feature in the movie despite his reputation of being a mad scientist dealing with mutant DNA, namely genetic experimentation and cloning.
"Gambit," however, could provide another opportunity for him due to their strong history. Being an expert thief, Gambit was hired by Sinister on numerous occasions for covert thefts and missions, to repay Sinister for helping him control his powers. The reluctant Cajun often ended up in the villain's debt, continuing more and more operations for him, as part of that vicious master and puppet cycle, which lasted several years. This back-and-forth could be a great direction for the big screen, bringing two very prominent mutants to the Fox forefront. Fans have long clamored for them, so this could be the opening to flesh them out comprehensively as mentor and protege, unwilling though the latter half of that relationship may be.
14 UNRESTRICTED POWERS
Gambit prides himself on his ability to convert the potential energy stored in inanimate objects into kinetic energy, thus charging them with highly explosive results. The bigger the object, the longer he takes to charge them. But Fox shouldn't make the mistake of restricting Gambit's powers to simply throwing cards and other items. It'd be wise to go the more dynamic route, whether it's with a toothpick like Daredevil villain, Bullseye, or if it's blowing up houses or cars with his touch in true pyrotechnic splendor.
He's a walking bomb-maker with near-Omega level powers, so they should allow him to flex his muscles and cut loose a bit. Holding back on his powers has always been a major concern of his in the books, as he knows he could possibly go pseudo-nuclear; that doesn't mean we can't see him playing around a bit, struggling with the dilemma. His powers can also charge his staff in battle and even shield his mind from psychics, so Fox also has other ways of making him more badass than that diluted "Wolverine: Origins" appearance.
13 T-O VIRUS
If the movie revolved around Gambit retrieving the T-O virus, then not only would it bring his conscience into play as to what he should do regarding such a game-ender, but it'd also tie in Sinister nicely as someone who's often linked with these viral disasters. This virus, in particular, transforms organic matter into techno-organic material, resembling both machinery and living tissue. Notably, the virus exists as two variants.
The first is the Transmode virus, from the Technarchy alien race, which they use to infect victims and drain energy; this could make Gambit the first wave of defense against an alien invasion! More realistically, the virus could follow its second form, existing as an Apocalypse variant. This was created by Sinister to kill the villain, but was later repurposed by En Sabah Nur. It was then used to infect Cable, which could link his origins from "Deadpool 2." Either way, using a virus could see Gambit deployed stealthily, similar to Alice in the "Resident Evil" franchise, with the future of the mutant race resting in his card-shuffling hands.
12 BADASS MARTIAL ARTIST
Gambit's unique ability to tap into and harness kinetic energy offers him incredible superhuman physical attributes, such as strength, speed, reflexes, agility, flexibility, coordination, balance and endurance. These are all ingredients to be an expert martial artist. His hand-to-hand combat skills are underrated, but his body constantly generates bio-kinetic energy, making him perfectly constructed for constant motion and explosive action.
He has the edge here in that he can mix and match to develop unique fighting styles, adapting and improvising along the way like a master acrobat. So he isn't just a bar brawler, street-fighter or card-chucker. He's one of the deadliest men you can square off against, and that's not a good thing for his enemies, especially if Fox puts him in assassin mode, a la John Wick or Jason Bourne. He's a thief, a mutant and one of the baddest pairs of hands that has ever stretched out of New Orleans. Gambit deserves to be played up as much, especially when he unloads his Savate kick-boxing skills and Bojutsu staff attacks on those trying to stop his heists.
11 HORSEMAN POTENTIAL
Gambit once infiltrated Apocalypse's inner-circle with the intent of destroying it from inside the belly of the beast. Instead, he miscalculated and ended up as the Horseman of Death. It was a tough period that saw him try to kill several X-Men teammates. Luckily, after remembering his love for Rogue, he fought off this evil influence and sought redemption with the aid of Sunfire and sadly, Sinister. This haunted him for years and he suffered great PTSD from it.
In his solo movie, it'd be pretty cool seeing him getting premonitions of death on a mass scale because it would confuse the heck out of him. He'd certainly be torn because he may think it's his powers overloading (one of his greatest fears), when it could well be foreshadowing of another coming of Apocalypse. The villain could easily be resurrected by Fox because, let's face it, they have no problems with retcons or adjusting continuity. Also, it would give them another crack at doing Apocalypse and his disciples justice, or maybe allow usage of Marvel's Apocalypse Twins.
10 WEAPON X
With "Logan" done and dusted, fans who saw it would know that the Weapon X program is one that Fox has rendered immortal. The studio loves it in its film lore and producers have even gone past the X-23 program. This could create an opportunity for Gambit to piggyback on top of, whether it's for Sinister or another entity, stealing crucial information on any one of these projects to create the next Wolverine or the next best mutant.
In comics, Gambit once stole such information for Sinister, but in the end, he burned the diaries, as he didn't trust what the villain would do with the data. Fox could even tinker with their timeline and have him meet X-23 in battle at one of these locations where she's safeguarding the facility. Fans want more of her after she shone in her debut, so pitting them against each other, claws and healing factor versus cards and staff, could be the Wolverine versus Gambit fight we've all longed for on film. It could also be one of her earliest tests, reminding Gambit of a past that included Logan from "Origins."
9 MARAUDERS & MORLOCKS
In "Logan," Donald Pierce and the Reavers were mechanically-enhanced bounty hunters trying to retrieve X-23. It was a simple depiction but worked well with the script, which didn't require that much intricacy or depth from them. The Marauders could be used similarly as they were the group that Gambit led to repay Sinister for his help with Remy's powers. Missions were carried out using mutant mercenaries such as Sabretooth, Blockbuster, Prism and Riptide (who appeared in the "First Class" movie).
Their journey also intersected with the Morlocks, with a portion of the Marauders (Scalphunter, Arclight, Harpoon, Malice, Scrambler and Vertigo) harboring a secret intent to kill the outcasts in the New York tunnels. Gambit was unable to prevent the massacre, but saved one in Marrow. He kept this to himself as he was ashamed, which infuriated the X-Men when all was revealed. This led to him being cast out and could provide the foundation for the two groups intersecting, thus shaping Gambit's redemptive path. It would also spur him on to break free of Sinister's shackles, while leaving the Morlock annihilation as a seed for future X-Men use.
8 SEDUCER & CHARMER
Gambit embodies the charm and swagger of Louisiana. That New Orleans magic shouldn't be watered down at all when he hits cinemas. His slick gal-chasing, sweet-talking, card-shuffling ways make him the vagabond we love to see succeed, and whether it's bar-based seduction or kicking ass in alleys, Fox needs to let his charisma shine. It would be a downright shame if they stifle it like they did when Taylor Kitsch took on the role, albeit he had to make room for Hugh Jackman to do this thing as Wolverine.
Gambit possesses a strong and irresistibly hypnotic charm that allows him to exert a subtle influence over sentient beings, especially women. This leads them to believe what he says and agree with his suggestions, which past writers have suggested is tied to his bio-electric makeup. This charm is so powerful that he could even trick the nefarious Shadow King so Fox needs to let it shine in all its glory. It's worth mentioning that his charm doesn't work on those who already know about it, which is why he keeps it as a secret ace up his sleeve.
7 COMIC-LOYAL COSTUME
Gambit deserves more than just a jacket to throw over a tee. His comic costume is one that's the perfect balance of contemporary wear and combat-ready functionality. He usually gears for battle with a suit of highly articulated light body armor, hiding his extendable metal staff. Fox has a chance to make it sleek, like the material we saw Quicksilver and Spider-Man wearing in the MCU. The only caveat we would have is that they would need to slap his signature black and purple/red colors on it to complete the look.
His costume can be worn at all times, as it's edgy, yet battle-ready, and hey, it'll have a trench-coat over it so it's not like it'll be on full display at all times. For the sake of fan service, we'd love to see his headpiece as well, but we know that may be pushing it. Gambit usually operates at night, in black-ops missions, so we'd still leave that on the checklist. If Fox wants him to not just be a badass, but look the part in a unique way, the studio really ought to heed this advice. X-Men fans have already suffered through not seeing Wolverine in his classic costume!
6 GUILD WARS
Gambit was kidnapped as a baby and raised by the LeBeau Clan Thieves' Guild. He was prophesied to unite the warring Thieves' and Assassins' Guilds, and eventually grew into his deviant role, journeying to experience life, which led to him meeting the likes of Sinister. However, he returned home to reconcile both Guilds after he realized how cruel and dark the world was. In the comics, this was supposed to be sealed with his marriage to Bella Donna Boudreaux, granddaughter of the head Assassin. Unfortunately, it went awry as he killed her brother and went into exile in a major feud.
That's a lot of Romeo and Juliet drama, of course, which Fox might do well to stay away from. The battle of the Guilds would make sense, though, as it would teach him about family, which could factor in later on when he encounters the X-Men. Having his family ripped from him could also be what drives him into Sinister's hands at some point. The Guild Wars were a formative part of his youth, so it should be given ample screen time to illustrate just how he was molded as a young misfit, influenced by darkness most of his life.
Rogue has endured a pretty tough time in Fox's cinematic universe. In Bryan Singer's debut film in 2000, she was an integral part of the team, but since then she's basically been peripheral at best. This was punctuated when she got cut from the theatrical version of "Days of Future Past." If there's a Gambit film happening, though, then this is the right time to make her relevant again.
Throughout the years, they've been star-crossed lovers, fighting with and for each other. We saw it when Gambit became Death, where his love for her brought him back. This is one romance that sadly hasn't been exploited on screen. The '90s animated series played it up too, so many geeks grew up watching their love blossom. The Bella Donna marriage is unnecessary backstory, and cutting it frees up space for Rogue to calm the wild Gambit down. She could also provide the link to greener pastures with Professor Xavier and the X-Men if need be. Either way, a Gambit love affair for Rogue is much more interesting than an Iceman one, which never felt substantial.
"Deadpool" and "Logan" showed that Rated-R works! Both movies were violent, gory and made for profanity, as per the characters' essence. Problem solved! Now, Fox has to look at the property called Gambit, and analyze his brand's essence. When it comes to this character, there's a sultry air to him, lots of drinking, lots of chasing love (or lust) and, well, you get the drift. He's a sexy character that loves women and fighting, and is best described as a thief and a vagabond. That leads to one door: Gambit is another chance to throw the PG-13 rating in the bin.
We want a dangerous story with backstabbing characters and lots of action. This could actually be a great middle ground between the aforementioned two movies with slightly less gore, and even more gun and swordplay. Also, honestly, do we really want kids watching Gambit commit theft and try to bed women? We didn't think so. Fox ought to capitalize on the momentum that's captivating adult audiences at present, who want more adult-themed comic flicks. Fox seems to be taking risks these days and there's no better gamble than on this Cajun!
3 COMIC-CREATIVE CORE
We can't risk another Josh Trank, Simon Kinberg and Fox meltdown happening like it did on the "Fantastic Four" reboot. The studio needs to buckle down and get a solid director: one who's action-oriented like Joe Carnahan ("Smoking Aces," "The A-Team"). Furthermore, when it comes to Kinberg, fans are always going to be cautious. He produced on "Logan" and "Deadpool," but he was also writer on the Trank disaster, as well as on "Apocalypse" and "DOFP," which doesn't inspire too much confidence.
A strong creative core, and one that's preferably comic-oriented, would be appreciated. If Fox wanted to go bigger, then "Mad Max: Fury Road's" George Miller could be an option. It'd be ambitious, but why not? Gambit is popular enough a character and there would be room to subvert his lore. In terms of writing, Fox can also look at legendary X-writers such as Chris Claremont, Peter David, as well as Joe Straczynski, who was a scribe on "Thor" and "Spider-Man" at Marvel. Mark Millar's also a writing option, so Fox should maximize its comic connections to avoid another creative fiasco.
2 THE LOUISIANA AMBIANCE
This film needs to play up the Cajun/Louisiana ambiance, and we're not just talking about in terms of folks' accents; we want the settings and locations themselves. New Orleans has such a rich and monumental heritage in itself, ranging from things like Mardi Gras, to normal nightlife, to food, music, art, to people and culture on the whole. That's why this character, aka the Louisiana landscape, needs to be highlighted. It can spice up the movie with true atmosphere and flavor everything the same way Harlem did for "Luke Cage."
This was also seen in the dustbowl setting for "Logan," where the scenery and visual aesthetic added personality to the movie. "Gambit" can be made to have an equally powerful atmosphere, once it's shot right. Cinematography goes a long way and there's no reason not to add flair to his story through a distinct look, sound and overall feel. It would add an extra dimension to the film, and really make "Gambit" stand out, not just as a character, but also in terms of tempo and tone, which could differentiate it from being a run-of-the-mill superhero flick.
1 X-MEN RECRUITMENT
It's every comic fan's wish to see a proper "X-Men" roster. That would obviously include Gambit. The end of this movie, whether it be through a Rogue thread or some sort of post-credits scene, should link him with a recruitment opportunity. Maybe Professor Xavier shows up, as he usually does, or if conspiracy theorists had their way, Scott Summers.
Why Scott? Well, because Marvel once scrapped plans where they were going to retcon Gambit as one of the Summers brothers. That tidbit aside, Gambit would be such a cool addition because of the potential interaction and dynamic with the group. He has that anti-hero vibe -- like Wolverine -- so he wouldn't fit in as a boy scout. Having him join up would certainly go a long way to making up for past roster muck-ups from Fox, which left out fan faves consistently. It would be intriguing if the film partnered him with X-23 on the roster, mirroring the Wolverine-Jubilee relationship from the comics. If anything, future appearances may require Gambit to have some discipline, so why not head back to school... one for the gifted, that is.
What do you think of our advice? Let us know in the comments what you want to see in the Gambit movie!