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Why did the Gambit movie stall? Blame the Fantastic Four

Contributed by
Mar 15, 2019

Rupert Wyatt’s gambit to get a Gambit movie off the ground didn’t pay off when the director exited the troubled project in 2015. And now, Wyatt’s speaking out about his since-shelved plans for the picture.

It seems that a film about the popular X-Men character has been in the works almost as long as we've had superhero movies (all right, maybe not that long, but it feels that way). Wyatt was the first director to sign onto the project, coming aboard in June 2015 and spending three months in development before dropping out in September of that same year (the reason given at the time was a scheduling conflict).

While doing the press rounds for his new alien-occupation movie Captive State, Wyatt was grilled about his involvement with the 20th Century Fox-backed Gambit, which has been steered all along by star and producer Channing Tatum.

Asked by Collider why he ended up leaving the project, Wyatt explained that it was all the Fantastic Four's fault — yes, Fox's bombtastic 2015 reboot of Marvel's First Family ended up temporarily sinking Gambit as well.

"Fantastic Four came out, did not do very well for Fox, [and] they decided to lower our budget," said Wyatt. "We were 12 weeks out, we couldn’t recover. The script needed a huge amount of rewriting in order to fit that budget, and ultimately the powers that be chose not to go down that road, so the film didn’t happen."

Rupert Wyatt

Credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Describing the version of the film that he was involved with as "terrific... a really exciting sort of Godfather with mutants set in the world of New Orleans with different gangs," Wyatt elaborated on what Tatum, his producing partner Reid Carolin, and writer Josh Zetumer were cooking up.

"I mean it was a period film," he recalled. "It dealt with the '70s up until the present day. It was about kind of mutant gangs and the notion of what it means to belong, tribalism in this bayou-like environment. The swamps of New Orleans. So it would’ve been a lot of fun. I know Channing sort of worked on the script to make it into more of a romantic comedy, I think. Which I read and it was great, it was very different to what I was involved in."

According to Wyatt, his Gambit was too close to the start of production to undergo the kind of rewrites needed to fit the new Fox budget — which may have ultimately entailed costly reshoots at the back end that would have pumped the budget up anyway.

After Wyatt left, directors like Doug Liman and Gore Verbinski took a crack at Gambit and ended up not sticking around either. Although Tatum and Carolin are still developing the project, the upcoming Disney-Fox merger will give Marvel Studios full control of all of Fox's Marvel properties — meaning that it remains to be seen when and if the Ragin' Cajun finds his way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“All I know is Channing had a really, really wonderful idea for what that film could and should be,” Wyatt told ComicsBeat. “I know he and Reid are still plugging away at it, so I hope in the new Disney era, that then they get to make it.”

As for Wyatt's new sci-fi epic, you can read SYFY WIRE's own interview with the director about Captive State here. The movie is out in theaters starting today, March 15.

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