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Fox’s decision to pursue a Gambit solo movie turned out to be a gamble that didn’t pay off. After suffering countless setbacks, the Channing Tatum-fronted X-Men spinoff ended up being a casualty of Disney’s big-money takeover, but fans who were disappointed that they didn’t get to see a live-action Remy LeBeau fly solo now have the next best thing.
Actor Nick Batemen has uploaded an unofficial Gambit movie called Play for Keeps to his YouTube account, and it looks pretty authentic. The production values are surprisingly high, or at least no worse than the likes of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and the film is packed with fan-pleasing references to the wider Marvel universe.
Directed by Jensen Noen, the 20-minute feature stars Batemen as the Cajun mutant, with Ellen Hollman as Rogue and Anna Butkevych as Magik. The plot follows LeBeau as he gets caught up in a deadly game of poker with someone from his past who’s out for revenge. As you might expect, there’s plenty of explosive card tossing along the way, but there are a few surprises too, such as Iron Man Easter eggs.
Gambit has, of course, appeared on the big screen before, with Taylor Kitsch playing him in Wolverine’s first solo movie, but Play for Keeps is the closest thing we’ve got to a live-action pic with LeBeau in the lead role. Tatum’s Gambit movie was close to becoming a reality, though. Fox even laid the groundwork for it with X-Men: Apocalypse‘s post-credits stinger, teasing the arrival of Mister Sinister, who would have served as the spinoff’s villain.
Disney officially killed the project in May last year, but there’s hope that Marvel will one day add Gambit to the MCU. Plans to bring the X-Men into the shared cinematic universe are a closely-guarded secret right now, though when they do materialize, it’s possible that mutants who didn’t see much of the spotlight in the Fox era will get their chance to shine.