'Gambit' Currently Eyeing Summer 2018 Production Schedule

Assuming no more major stumbling blocks pop up between now and then, 20th Century Fox's Gambit is expected to begin production this summer.

The X-Men spinoff, which will star Channing Tatum in the title role, has been delayed numerous times, with three different directors abandoning the project along the way.

“We have a script that’s extraordinary, that we love, that Channing loves,” executive producer Simon Kinberg told Variety at a Deadpool 2 screening tonight. “We’ve met with a bunch of directors in the last few weeks and we’re hoping to pick one in the next couple of weeks, then shoot the movie maybe this summer.”

The film was previously scheduled to go into production in March, in the hopes of hitting a February 2019. The current release date is June of 2019. On the one hand, that would be roughly in line with the previous timeline if the production does indeed start over the summer. On the other, it would mean that Gambit -- which has had a series of high-profile setbacks and has not yet begun production -- would hit theaters before New Mutants, which has completed production and is headed into reshoots. New Mutants is currently slated for August of next year.

If the film goes into production this year, it will likely be the final X-Men film produced by Fox prior to their acquisition by Disney. Whether that would ultimately make Gambit part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or not is anyone's guess.

The Gambit project previously had Rupert Wyatt, and then Doug Liman, in the director's chair. Wyatt pulled out in 2015, and the project continued more or less as planned until Liman, too, exited the next year.

Liman's departure resulted in a start from scratch mentality, something Tatum has acknowledged in the past as a good thing for the project. It then brought in Gore Verbinski to take over director duties, but Verbinski left and Fox still needs to find someone else to take the film to the finish line.

It seems to be largely Channing Tatum's status as a Hollywood A-lister and his enthusiasm for the project that have kept the movie from falling apart over the last few years.

Previous reports have claimed that studio insiders are still enthusiastic about the troubled project, which they describe as a heist movie with comedic elements.

A mutant superhero who has the ability to transfer energy into solid objects, making them potentially explosive weapons, Gambit has a backstory involving a guild of thieves in New Orleans, where is was part of the Cajun community before moving to Westchester County and Xavier's School.

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A recent report indicated that the story would center on a heist gone wrong, in which Gambit tries to unite two sects of the Thieves Guild -- his adoptive family and that of his girlfriend. Some of the story would, per that story, be told in flashback to establish how young Remy came to be in the custody of master thief Luke Lebeau and how he came to know Bella Donna Boudreaux, the femme fatale.

Gambit is expected in theaters on June 7, 2019.