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Channing Tatum’s Gambit Is The Hero The X-Men Franchise Needs

FOX

On Tuesday night (July 28), rumors began to surface that Channing Tatum was seriously considering dropping out of the upcoming Gambit movie…and any future team-ups with the rest of the X-Men that’ll likely come with it. If it’s true—and as of press time, Fox has offered no comment—it’s a surprising move considering this is pretty much all Tatum has talked about for the past couple of years (sans stripping), and of course it doesn’t bode well for the movie itself.

But perhaps even more importantly…does this bode well for the X-Men franchise as a whole? With Hugh Jackman finally putting down those adamantium claws for good, and Jennifer Lawrence almost definitely saying goodbye to Mystique, here’s why the franchise needs a hefty dose of Magic Channing:

Because they’re saying goodbye to their cash cow.

FOX

There’s no denying that James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender have been fantastic as Professor X and Magneto since taking over in 2011’s First Class…but as great as that movie is, it’s the second-lowest performing film in the entire X-Men franchise. (The lowest being The Wolverine.) Days of Future Past made over $233 million domestically, which is about $87 million more than First Class did—and Days Of Future Past was sold on the A-list presence of Jackman and Lawrence. (For proof, look at the poster.)

Of course Tatum doesn’t have two decades of movies under his belt like Jackman does, but the man is rapidly becoming a huge box office draw. (For proof, look at his fantastic leaked email celebrating that fact.) So with Jackman definitely out, Lawrence almost definitely out, and Fassbender “not sure,” this franchise needs a likable box office draw, stat. Because Chris Pratt is already taken.

Because they could easily make it work with the timeline.

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Some of the major complaints about the Gambit solo movie have centered on A, the “meh”-ness of the character next to more dynamic forces like Magneto and Wolverine, and B, the fact that introducing Gambit in the same time period of X-Men: Apocalypse would mean saying goodbye to Gambit’s romance with Rogue, who has been firmly established as an early-2000s teenager.

Of course it might be less-than-ideal for many comic fans to toss out Remy and Anna Marie, but given the way the movies have played with time and eliminated plot lines and characters that haven’t worked, it’s very plausible that they’ll introduce Gambit in whichever decade suits him best and figure out how to make it work. Like, remember when Emma Frost was somehow older in 1962 (First Class) than she was in the 1980s (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)? No one cared about that, and if Gambit is actually good, it shouldn’t matter if his timeline doesn’t have continuity with the Taylor Kitsch character’s, because Wolverine will be gone and that movie’s in the rearview anyway.

All that really matters when it comes down to it is A, how good the Gambit script is, and B, how well he’ll gel as a character with the X-Men (and maybe even Fantastic Four?!) once that team-up eventually happens. Maybe Tatum will have chemistry with a different lady-mutant, and he’ll play his cards at a new table? Stranger things have happened in superhero movies, guys, and since literally everyone from the current X-Men squad might be leaving after Apocalypse, they could even flash forward to the 2000s again and bring back Rogue, anyway. Sky’s the limit.

Because Channing seems insanely dedicated to playing this character, and would be awesome.

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Tatum has seemed really insanely happy about joining the X-Men universe as Gambit for a couple of years now—apparently it’s been his favorite hero his entire life — so the only way we’d be happy about him leaving is if the movie is no good. Which almost doesn’t make sense, because he appeared at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this month psyched as hell in a Gambit t-shirt, and the year before he literally threw cards in MTV News’ face to demonstrate how prepared he was to take this on. Also, Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt joined the project just last month, and casting rumors have been funneling in nearly every day since. Why would all of these people push forward on this if it was garbage?

Tatum’s enthusiasm for anything and everything is infectious, and since he’s also an insanely talented actor (he did 22 Jump Street and Foxcatcher in the same six-month span, guys), we’d be so disappointed to see him lose out on this for any other reason besides “the project is no good and shouldn’t exist in the first place.” And if that’s true, let’s get a rewrite on this bad boy ASAP, because the future of the entire mutant race depends on it.

INNERSPACE CLIPS