With the unstoppable rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the X-Men world along with it, our favorite mutants are being thrust back into the spotlight in a big way. Classic mutants like Wolverine, Magneto, Quiksilver, and many others are being refreshed and revalidated for today’s mainstream audience. However, there’s one central mutant figure in the X-Men universe who has been left out of the fray, at least thus far. Who’s that, you ask? Well, if you managed to interpret the letters in this article’s title correctly, you’ll know that we’re talking about Monsieur Remy LeBeau, also known as Gambit.
Maybe he’s cool because of his red eyes that gaze just below his cool bandana, or his awesome Cajun accent paired with his casual, nonchalant nature, but regardless, Gambit was always one of our favorite mutants as we grew up watching the X-Men animated series. He’s undeniably cool on the outside with an inherently selfless center; he can cause more damage with a set of playing cards than we can with ten bazookas and he’s one-half of an eternally true love made undeniably tragic by the fact that he can never touch his lover.
The more you learn about Gambit, the deeper you want to dig. Thankfully, there are volumes upon volumes of X-Men comic books available for all fans who want to learn more about Monsieur LeBeau. If reading isn’t your thing, there’s a movie coming up that will centralize on the character. To hold you over until then, here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about Gambit.
15. He’ll Be Played By Channing Tatum
This one is quite promising for all fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which, by this point, pretty much refers to the vast majority of movie fans in general). Channing Tatum has been confirmed to play Gambit in a feature film adaptation centering entirely around the Cajun mutant, and he’s been primed to do so since 2014. Not only does Tatum have the acting chops to do the role justice, but even in a photo without any film prep done, we can already see how Tatum looks a lot like Gambit. The film, originally slated for a 2016 release, has been pushed back to 2017 at the absolute earliest due to the screenplay needing some further tightening before reaching a point where it does the character justice. We’re excited about seeing Channing Tatum play Gambit, although we are admittedly just a little bit nervous at the prospect of hearing his Cajun accent.
14. He Has A God Form
That’s right, Monsieur Gambit is not all card tricks and staff-pokes, at least not all the time. There is an alternate Earth version of Gambit whose power is so exaggerated that he’s actually able to best the practically broken Phoenix in a battle. This variation of ol’ Remy is so powerful that he can manipulate the molecules around him with a mere thought (reality-warping is always one of the best tricks any comic book superhero can have up their sleeve, right?) and he has also demonstrated the ability to travel through different dimensions. This version of Gambit is called the New Sun/Son, and his powers are far beyond Remy’s control. The Gambit from the “original” X-Men universe has the ability to restrict and control his abilities, although his potential is far from what New Sun can pull off. Fingers crossed that we’ll see good form Channing Tatum in the upcoming Gambit flick.
13. He Was A Horseman Of Death
Gambit, although a confusing character a lot of the time, has a big heart and huge love for his mutant brethren. He demonstrated this when he stepped forward to protect the X-Men during the period when Apocalypse showed up in an apparent effort to help the mutants avoid extinction. The X-Men were extremely skeptical of the super evil-looking Apocalypse’s plan, which they should have been, since Apocalypse would prove to be an exceedingly evil bastard. In a totally selfless move, Gambit consents to become Apocalypse’s Horseman of Death in order to protect his fellow X-Men.
Although Apocalypse believed that this decision was based on Remy’s bitterness towards the X-Men from being ignored by them all the time, Gambit’s reasoning was that he would prove much more useful in the fight against Apocalypse if he would be as close to him as possible. Apocalypse’s brainwashing techniques converted Gambit to his side temporarily, although he was always tethered to the good thanks to memories of his past life and his undying infatuation with Rogue. Eventually, Sunfire helps undo the brainwashing, and Gambit is reverted back to his normal self.
12. He Beat Wolverine In A Fight (Using Trickery)
For such an unbelievably powerful character, Wolverine sure does get the crap beaten out of him a bunch of times. As it turns out, in one of these instances, the beating was dished out by ol’ Remy Etienne “Gambit” LeBeau. Sure, Wolverine is an ultrapower, and he definitely has Gambit beat when it comes to fair, hand-to-hand combat, but we all know that Gambit doesn’t have much reason to use fairness in an important battle. The issue in question was The Uncanny X-Men #273, wherein Gambit and Wolverine are having a little spar in the Danger Room. At one point in the fight, Gambit used the properties of the Danger Room to make Lady Deathstrike appear, which effectively distracted Wolverine from the battle. As Wolverine’s guard was down, Gambit gave him a few good shots, which knocked him down. As Gambit stood over the defeated Wolverine with his foot on his chest, he said, “Bang. You Dead.” Wolverine did not appreciate that, not one bit.
11. He’s Named After A Chess Move
Any chess aficionados among our readers will instantly recognize a gambit as it is used in chess. It’s not quite an elaborate strategy in the board game, but more of a standard move that is used quite frequently. In chess, a gambit is an opening move in which one of the players (usually the one playing White) will knowingly move a piece in a vulnerable position (most likely a pawn), in order to gain an advantageous position a few moves down the line. The opposing player can either accept or reject the gambit, taking the bait and knocking the piece off the board, or playing a patient turn and letting the vulnerable piece live. As the inherent depth of chess goes, even if the opposing player accepts the gambit, they might only be doing so under the guise of falling for the trap, when all the while they only want things to appear that way to their opponent. Monsieur Remy LeBeau’s mutant name was taken from the classic chess gambit, which further underlines the mutant’s inner complexities.
10. He Was Raised As A Thief
Gambit is known as the coolest, sexiest thief of the Marvel Universe, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Cajun mutant was actually brought up as part of a thieves’ guild. Before becoming part of the X-Men, he was parading around with his fellow thieving brethren, taking whatever they can get their hands on in order to accrue some profit. Remy would have probably enjoyed continuing down this thieving path (he was certainly very, very good at it), but then his mutant powers started coming in in full force, which was causing Remy more than a little bit of distress. Gambit was consumed by the inordinate amount of energy going through him, and he really couldn’t take it anymore. In a desperate search for a solution, he sought the help of Mister Sinister, who removed a part of Gambit’s brain stem in order to give him some degree of control over his awesome power.
9. He Is The Witness
An object of mystery in the X-Men universe, The Witness is known in the series to reside in the timeline of Earth-1191, although he is technically a temporal anomaly. This means that he exists at the joining point of all timelines; he basically exists in all markers of time at once, so he essentially knows everything before it happens. In Earth-1191 (which is the timeline that Bishop comes from), The Witness is said to have been an X-Man in the distant past. More than that, he is said to have been the very last one to see the X-Men alive, which is what gives the mutant his name. The Witness once told Bishop, “I am LeBeau and more than LeBeau. I am in jail; I am a jail. One strange man, me.” Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, this mega-mutant is actually the deep-future version of Remy LeBeau, also known as Monsieur Gambit.
8. He Used To Throw Daggers Instead Of Cards
If you were setting off on a new venture as a world-class mutant fighter and world protector, and your choice of weapons were limited to either a set of cards or throwing daggers, your choice would probably not be a very difficult one to make. Sure, maybe you have never thrown a dagger before, and you might not know the proper throwing technique to really impale your enemies from afar, but logic would suggest that you’d have a hell of an easier time dealing with deadly foes by throwing daggers than by throwing cards. Well, as it turned out, Gambit ended up proving that a set of playing cards could be way deadlier than any sharp knives ever would. However, there was a point in issue #266 when the mutant carried daggers instead of cards. The next issue would feature the mutant using playing cards as his weapon of choice.
7. He Has Appeared In Many Video Games
Like most other members of the main X-Men cast, Gambit has been seen in media other than his original comic book series, such as in the animated X-Men cartoon in the ’90s, and of course a plethora of video games. His very first appearance in a video game was in Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade’s Revenge as part of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. ’90s gamers will also remember Gambit’s Sega Genesis appearances in X-Men, X-Men 2: Clone Wars as well as Sega Game Gear titles X-Men 2: Game Master’s Legacy and X-Men 3: Mojo World. To list all of the mutant’s video game appearances would exceed the scope of this entry, but Gambit has spent some decades being featured as a playable character in video games across several platforms, including the Wii, PSP, PS2, Nintendo DS, and others. He’s even been in the online Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
6. He Converts Potential Energy Into Kinetic Energy
Many who have watched the X-Men cartoon show in the ’90s or who have read the original comic book issues might see Gambit doing his whole throwing-card act without being quite sure of the mechanics at play when he uses his powers. Essentially, the character converts potential energy into kinetic energy. Put that way, Gambit’s abilities sound simple enough that we might even be able to pull them off ourselves if given the sufficient training and practice time, but this is probably not the case unless you happen to be a truly gifted mutant. Because that’s what Gambit truly is; he has the ability to tap into the energy of inanimate objects and activate the kinetic potential within them, charging the object to either cause explosions or send out kinetic energy in other ways. So, if you were Gambit, you would be able to focus on your mother’s favorite vase and cause it to explode before her very eyes if she chastises you for not taking out the garbage on chore day. You can probably cause the garbage to explode as well, which we don’t imagine would smell very nice at all.
5. He Was Involved In The Mutant Massacre
The infamous mutant massacre is an extremely unfortunate segment in the main Marvel Universe (the one before the Secret Wars event). The massacre centralized on The Mauraders (an evil mutant team led by Sabretooth) infiltrating the Morlocks (a subset of mutants residing in the sewers underground) and murdering them in a horrific bloodbath. As well-intentioned as Gambit usually is, he made the mistake of leading the Mauraders right to The Morlocks, not knowing what they intended to do with them once they reached the sewers. Gambit eventually finds out The Mauraders gory plans and attempts to stop the massacre, only to be brutally messed up by Sabretooth. Gambit would go on to save the life of one future X-Men named Marrow, but the damage had definitely been done by that point. Although he didn’t intend to cause any harm, Gambit was a central figure in the Mutant Massacre, and Rogue would never forgive him for it.
4. His Complicated, Star-Crossed Love With Rogue
Gambit and Rogue, like Romeo and Juliet, are profound soulmates living in love with each other under truly unfortunate circumstances. Sure, the story of Romeo and Juliet is an inherently tragic one, ending in both the lovers’ early deaths in just about the saddest way possible, but at least they got to kiss and hold hands a few times before they would fizzle out from the living world. Due to the nature of Rogue’s powers, the mutant lovers can’t even touch each other, let alone kiss. Whenever they do, disaster usually follows. Aside from that, Gambit’s secret, mysterious nature and his feelings toward his troubled past has led to trust issues that have prevented him from opening up fully to Rogue, which she does not appreciate at all. Anyone who takes one look at the mutants together could see that the two are true soulmates, but their love is victimized by truly regrettable circumstances.
3. Rogue Once Put Gambit In A Coma For Three Weeks
Remember when we said that disaster usually follows a kiss shared between Gambit and Rogue? Well, about that… Rogue once confided in Gambit, telling him that the first boy she kissed in her life is still in a coma to this very day. If ever that boy does end up waking up, he’d probably say that the kiss was nice, but ultimately not worth the time it cost him. One might think that was a bit of foreshadowing, but Rogue quickly forgot about it at the end of Legion Quest, when it looked as though the apocalypse was nigh and the world might come to an end. Not liking the idea of dying without ever being able to kiss the Cajun dude she loves so much, Rogue gives Gambit a big ol’ smooch. Well, it turned out that the apocalypse going on at the time wasn’t really an apocalypse because the world would survive it, but Gambit would spend the next three weeks in a coma due to Rogue’s kiss.
2. He Once Swung Around A Broomstick Instead Of A Staff
If there’s one thing we know Gambit for, aside from his amazing card tricks and his slick headband, it’s his awesome prowess with the bo staff. Gambit is such a staff master that sometimes, he doesn’t even need to use his kinetic card powers and bests his foes with a good staff tap to the right soft spot on the back of the head. Gambit’s bo staff abilities have no doubt caused many young X-Men fans to swing a broomstick around the basement when their parents weren’t looking, in the hopes of emulating their favorite Cajun mutant. Well, as it turns out, before Gambit’s bo staff skills were put on display in the X-Men series, he once showed off what he can do with a long, thin object by wielding a broomstick in the most badass way possible. He can’t really use it to play Quidditch, but Gambit can probably cause more bodily harm to his enemies with a broomstick than the average samurai can with a katana.
1. He Quit Smoking
Before Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada’s anti-smoking rules, Gambit would frequently smoke cigarettes, both in the original X-Men comic series and in the X-Men cartoons from the ’90s. He and Wolverine were shown as frequent smokers, and this trait helped both of them maintain their hardened hero image. However, when the anti-smoking policy came into effect, both characters were never shown smoking again. One of the only times this was addressed is during a particular mutant adventure in which Gambit admitted to Wolverine that he considered quitting smoking. Although Gambit and Wolverine’s bad habit probably didn’t single-handedly lead a legion of young people to start smoking, we can see why Quesada would implement the policy. According to science, each cigarette smoked brings the smoker seven minutes closer to death, and death is a shady thing that we should avoid in all possible cases. Still, X-Men tend to meet their dooms long before the grim effect of smoking can take its toll so it’s a wonder why smoking would be so bad. Our verdict is that you should definitely abstain from smoking, unless you happen to be a mutant warrior, in which case you should probably enjoy the time you have in whatever way you choose.