Channing Tatum finalizes deal to star in Gambit, Fox’s X-Men spinoff

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X-Men fans hoping to see Channing Tatum star in series spinoff Gambit can breathe a sigh of relief. In spite of reports last week that Tatum may pull out of the project, the actor has now finalized a deal to fill the lead role, according to THR.

It seems Tatum’s negotiations with the studio weren’t all smooth sailing, so fan concern wasn’t completely unwarranted. Fortunately, the Magic Mike star was never likely to walk away, according to THR sources. He’s been unofficially attached to the project for years as both an actor and a producer, so he clearly wanted it to work. While backend compensation was reportedly “a sticking point,” Tatum and Fox were able to reach an agreement.

While hammering out the deal, the studio and Tatum also had to consider how Gambit would tie into the X-Men universe. As with any successful franchise, there’s the potential that a role in one film may lead to sequels or opportunities for crossover. Given Gambit’s popularity as a comic-book character, we’d expect fans to want more of the mutant Remy LeBeau on the big screen. Fox seems to be working on the same assumption. According to THR, the studio believes Tatum’s Gambit could become an “anchor character,” much like Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has been.

The deal comes at a good time, as filming on Gambit is scheduled to begin in the fall. Written by Josh Zetumer, the movie will be directed by Rupert Wyatt, director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Tatum will be joined as producer by Reid Carolin, Lauren Shuler Donner, and Simon Kinberg.

Gambit is expected to hit theaters on October 7, 2016.