Simon Kinberg is in demand. Having helped shape the story for X-Men: Days Of Future Past, and then having written the screenplay, and produced the film, he is now set to perform the same tasks on the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men spin-off film, Gambit. He still found time to speak to The Daily Beast recently, however, and details of those two highly anticipated projects were swiftly forthcoming.
Now that X-Men: Days Of Future Past is busily raking in box office millions, Kinberg is beginning to look ahead to the next instalment in the successful franchise:
“At some point in making the movie, we talked about what the potential next film would be, and we all really gravitated towards Apocalypse… It will focus primarily on the First Class cast, but it will certainly have some of the original cast involved too.”
When asked if the currently legally embattled director, Bryan Singer, would be resuming his place at the helm, Kinberg replied simply, “That is the plan.” This is all, no doubt, welcome news for fans, who just helped the current instalment to a stunning opening weekend of $281 million.
The other news fans have been waiting for surrounds the longed-for solo project for X-Men comic character Gambit – a mutant who can mentally create, control and manipulate pure kinetic energy at will. Involved in an on-again off-again relationship with Rogue (Anna Paquin), he is a skilled card-thrower, hand-to-hand fighter, and a professional thief – and was featured in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, played by Taylor Kitsch. Kitsch is out of the picture as far as the solo feature is concerned, however, and will be replaced in the role by Channing Tatum – news that was well received at the time of its announcement. On the subject, Kinberg explained:
“Gambit is still in motion, and being figured out. Channing [Tatum] made it known that it was a character that he loved and would love to play, and all the people who work on the X-Men movies are huge fans of his – so the notion of him playing it is exciting. I’m more fascinated by anti-heroes, and Gambit is one of those. I don’t know why he wasn’t explored in the original X-Men movies. Maybe the reason why was because they wanted to focus on Rogue/Bobby, or the platonic Rogue/Wolverine relationship, and maybe there are too many similarities between Wolverine and Gambit, so in order to make it a Wolverine-centric franchise, they had to cut him loose.”
So, at a time when Disney’s Marvel universe and Warner Bros’ DC universe are setting out their plans for the coming decade, we have at least some idea of how Fox’s X-Men franchise will be moving forward. It also gives some hint of a slightly different tactic, in terms of the relationship between ‘team’ movies and solo features. Perhaps here, we will see one character spun-off in their own series at a time, instead of multiple solo series alongside less frequent ‘team’ movies, the way Marvel operates.
The first X-Men film was released 14 years ago, since which time franchise spin-offs have been all about Wolverine. Will he now make way for a decade of Gambit? It’s an interesting approach, and one that would be quite refreshing for superhero-weary audiences the world over.
With the franchise continuing to go from strength to strength, we will doubtless hear more news on X-Men: Apocalypse and Gambit soon.