Now that X-Men spinoff movie Gambit has finally been confirmed as moving forward, with Channing Tatum in the titular role, speculation is beginning to swirl around the identity of the villain of the piece. While there are a number of possibilities – including Mister Sinister, whose presence was teased at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse – hopes are building that the movie might provide the big screen debut of Gambit arch-enemy, Candra.
With female villainy being brought front and centre by the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe outing Thor: Ragnarok, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that 20th Century Fox might take that superhero lead and embrace a primary antagonist that’s also a woman. Doing so in this case would deliver a character who would make her debut alongside a new version of the card-throwing mutant – and rightly so.
Candra is a telekinetic, immortal External (a rare sub-species of mutant, which also includes Apocalypse) who first appeared in Gambit #1 in 1993. She was created by Howard Mackie and Lee Weeks, and has played an important role in the comic book source material. Her connection to Gambit stems from the Thieves and Assassins Guild of New Orleans.
In the comic books, Candra’s power is held in a Heart stone, and her body dissipates when this is destroyed – though her psyche lives on. When she draws strength from others to reassemble her physical form, she becomes Red Death – a zombie-like being with telekinetic abilities. Candra has not yet been seen in film adaptations of the source material – but a character based on her has appeared in the X-Men animated series.
The advantage of having Candra included in Gambit as the primary villain is that her character in the comic book is also connected to Bella Donna through the Thieves and Assassins Guild – in the same way as Gambit – and so this would provide a great opportunity to include more women in any potential storyline. The character of Bella Donna has already been rumoured to feature in the movie, with actress Lea Seydoux reportedly attached to the role. It’s not yet clear though whether she’s still involved in the project given the length of time it has languished in pre-production purgatory.
Gambit is now scheduled for release on February 14th, 2019, with Gore Verbinski directing the film.