The canceled X-Men spinoff film Gambit starring Channing Tatum would have featured a classic franchise supervillain.
Mister Sinister—one of Marvel’s most complex and nuanced villains—was all set to appear in the Gambit solo movie before it was unfortunately axed. The film would have starred Channing Tatum as the titular character and was supposed to feature Sinister as the main antagonist.
Simon Kinberg, the writer, and director of the most recent X-Men movie Dark Phoenix corroborated the plans for the villain during a recent viewing event for X-Men: Days of Future Past. The director also stated that X-Men: Apocalypse was partly intended as a set up for the Gambit film.
We're watching X-Men: Days of Future Past with screenwriter-producer Simon Kinberg joining IGN hosts Akeem Lawanson and Joshua Yehl on May 26th at 5 p.m. PT!https://t.co/LlSXGcNjz0 pic.twitter.com/H61awtIKaF
— IGN (@IGN) May 25, 2020
The uncertain future of the Gambit movie
X-Men: Apocalypse teased Mister Sinister’s existence by showing a tag branded “Essex Corp.”
“I have no idea what the plan is. But Mister Sinister was going to be part of the Gambit movie starring Channing Tatum,” said Kinberg.
The X-Men spinoff was plagued with issues throughout its development ever since the character’s first appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Tatum announced his involvement in the project in 2014, which never came to fruition on account of Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox.
Simon Kinberg has confirmed that Mister Sinister would have appeared in Channing Tatum’s ‘GAMBIT’ film.
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) May 27, 2020
The early life of Nathaniel Essex
Nathanial Essex, better known as Mister Sinister, is a long-time Marvel supervillain who frequently appeared in the X-Men comics. The London-born biologist was a firm believer in the theories of Charles Darwin and maintained that research supersedes morality.
Upon hearing news of his son’s death due to genetic problems, Essex grew increasingly more obsessed with his goal, which was to provide human beings with the perfect evolution.
The Marauders and Apocalypse
Essex partnered with the supervillain team the Marauders who provided him with test subjects for his research. He even went as far as exhuming the remains of his firstborn for experimentation, leaving his wife understandably appalled.
Eventually, the morally challenged biologist asked the Marauders to dig up the legendary undying mutant En Sabah Nur—more commonly called Apocalypse. The immortal mutant took great interest in Essex’s research and offered to work with him.
When faced with the prospect of joining Apocalypse or returning to a life with his then-pregnant wife who wanted nothing to do with him, Essex chose the former.
(What sucks that Apocalypse is so OP has more much potential but Marvel keeps writing him so bad.) pic.twitter.com/eujwnSl5r0
— En Sabah Nur (@MutantGodX) May 23, 2020
Essex’s attempt at rectification
After a complicated series of encounters involving a time-traveling Cyclops, the scientist was eventually convinced to give up his research and return to his wife’s side.
Essex made his way home only to find that his wife had released all of his subjects, delivered their baby, and was lying on her deathbed.
As he begged for his wife’s forgiveness, she denied him absolution and left him with the parting words “To me, you are . . . utterly . . . and contemptibly . . . sinister!”
Enter Mister Sinister
Following his wife’s death, the biologist returned to Apocalypse’s side and was immediately tasked with creating a plague to weed out the weak of the world. He was also granted immortality and telekinetic abilities through an excruciating process.
When asked by Apocalypse to rid himself of his past by selecting a new name, Essex chose his wife’s final word, “Sinister.”
— Comic Book Resources (@CBR) May 20, 2020
The supervillain ended up playing a major role in Gambit’s solo publications, so it would have been interesting to see his rendition on the silver screen. Here’s hoping the Gambit movie survived the Disney transition like Deadpool 3 did.
Image courtesy of Dennis Amith/Flickr