It feels like two steps forward, one step back for Gambit, the superhero spin-off movie that will star Channing Tatum as the titular Southern cardshark and ladies' man with superhuman abilities.
Back in August, it was confirmed that Tatum would be starring, and later that month we heard that Lea Seydoux (SPECTRE) had been offered the lead female role as a woman with psychic powers who has a tempestuous relationship with Gambit over the years. But the following month, director Rupert Wyatt stepped aside, citing scheduling conflicts created when the start of production on the movie got pushed to the early spring of this year.
Happily, veteran action director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow, above; The Bourne Identity) boarded the project in November. The original release date of October 7, 2016 remained intact, though that seemed very optimistic for an action-packed movie that would not begin filming for several months, presumably with a fair amount of visual effects to be added during the post-production process.
Now comes word that 20th Century Fox has removed Gambit from their release calendar, according to The Wrap. While no new date has been announced by Fox for Gambit, the studio has added two untitled Marvel movies, the first on October 6, 2017, and the second on January 12, 2018.
What does this mean for Gambit? Most likely, it will give more time for director Doug Liman to get his ducks in a row, so to speak, allowing him to prepare thoroughly for production -- we won't be surprised if the start of shooting is delayed a bit -- and also means that the post-production process won't be rushed, which ultimately makes more sense from a financial standpoint.
The announcements also lend credence to the idea that a Deadpool sequel is on its way. Deadpool has already made more than $600 million at the box office worldwide, so a sequel is less a matter of if than when. The two new dates announced by Fox allow both Gambit and Deadpool 2 to move forward on a timetable that will give both of them a chance to thrive.