He always brings his charge card.
There’s only one X-Man who can challenge Wolverine for the title of resident mutant bad boy. And finally, it seems Gambit will get his shot at Hollywood greatness, as director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean, The Ring, A Cure for Wellness) and star Channing Tatum join forces for a solo Gambit movie.
As we wait for that movie to finally materialize, we figured now would be a good time to spotlight the Ragin’ Cajun and tell you everything you need to know about Gambit.
X-Men don’t come more cocky, self-assured or mysterious than Gambit. This master thief abandoned his shady past (mostly) in order to join Professor Xavier’s school and fight for the survival of the mutant race. It may seem like Gambit is more interested in lining his pockets or flirting with beautiful women than playing superhero, but much like his colleague, Wolverine, he’s got a heart of gold buried beneath all that swagger.
Gambit has had a fairly rocky history with the X-Men over the years, especially as some of his past crimes have come to light. At times, Gambit has drifted away from the team and resumed life as a thief and con-man. But at the end of the day, his permanent home will always be with the X-Men.
Powers and Abilities
Gambit’s mutant power allows his body to constantly generate bio-kinetic energy. While this grants him a number of useful traits like enhanced strength and agility, Gambit’s signature ability is channeling that energy into inanimate objects. Gambit can charge any object with energy to the point that it becomes a deadly, explosive weapon. He always carries a few packs of playing cards with him, with each card becoming a bomb that he can throw with pinpoint accuracy.
Gambit is also a master thief and martial artist. His Thieves Guild training allows him to move incredibly stealthily, even despite his flamboyantly colored costume. Also aiding him in his criminal endeavors is the fact that Gambit can charm and hypnotize others with his unusual red eyes (not unlike a vampire).
Origin and Background
Gambit made his full debut in 1990’s Uncanny X-Men #266, courtesy of writer Chris Claremont and artist Jim Lee. It was a fortuitous time, as the X-Men comics were at the peak of their popularity (thanks in no small part to Lee’s artwork). Gambit joined the team after rescuing a powerless, de-aged Storm from the Shadow King. Gambit soon became a central player in Claremont and Lee’s X-Men series, which cemented his status as one of the most popular mutant characters of the time.
Gambit remained a fixture in the X-Men comics throughout the 1990s. Like Wolverine before him, Gambit’s mysterious past became slowly revealed over time. Readers eventually learned his real name (Remy LeBeau), as well as his status as a former member of the Thieves Guild and his betrothal to a woman named Bella Donna Boudreaux. Gambit also developed a strong attraction to teammate Rogue, despite the fact that her powers prevented any sort of physical romance.
Gambit’s comfortable new existence was overturned, however, once his ties to X-Men villain Mister Sinister became clear. In one particularly dramatic twist, the events of the 1985 crossover “Mutant Massacre” were rewritten to show that Gambit helped Sinister’s Marauders track down and slaughter the mutant Morlocks. That reveal shattered the trust the X-Men had placed in their new teammate and, in some ways, Gambit’s reputation has never really recovered.
Gambit has remained a recurring player in the X-Men books ever since, though he’s never quite recaptured the popularity he enjoyed in the early ’90s. He’s also branched out in other directions, serving as a member of X-Factor and starring in multiple solo series.
Beyond the Comics
Gambit’s early ’90s popularity was greatly fueled by his co-starring role in 1992’s X-Men: The Animated Series (where he was voiced by Chris Potter and Tony Daniels). The series built on the popularity of the comics at the time, combining classic X-Men storylines with a roster and art style more inspired by artists like Jim Lee. Gambit also played smaller roles in the two subsequent X-Men animated shows, X-Men Evolution (where he was re-imagined as a member of Magneto’s brotherhood of Mutants) and Wolverine and the X-Men.
Gambit made his live-action debut in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where he was played by Taylor Kitsch. Rather than serving as a member of the X-Men, that film established Gambit as a Weapon X escapee who helped Wolverine track down the villainous William Stryker. Kitsch’s Gambit was slated to receive his own spinoff film, but the poor reception to X-Men Origins: Wolverine cut those plans short. Instead, Channing Tatum will take over the role in 2019’s Gambit, a film that has been in some form of development since 2014.
Gambit has also appeared as a playable character in numerous Marvel video games, beginning with 1992’s Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge and also including X-Men: Mutant Academy, the Marvel vs. Capcom series, the X-Men Legends series, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, X-Men Destiny and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes.