It’s been a bit of a bumpy road for Gambit, the X-Men spinoff starring Channing Tatum as the eponymous mutant. After losing director Rupert Wyatt and replacing him with Doug Liman, Fox removed nixed the film’s release date with little explanation, leaving fans to wonder if Gambit would still happen at all. In a new interview, producer Simon Kinberg confirms that the project is still moving forward and offers a bit of optimism while explaining the delay.

Gambit has long been a passion project for Tatum, who is also serving as producer on the titular mutant’s solo outing. With Edge of Tomorrow’s Doug Liman recently signing on to helm sniper thriller The Wall (which is already in pre-production), the future of Gambit became even less clear than before.

But while speaking with Flickering Myth, Kinberg says that Tatum & Co. are still committed to making the film, explaining that Gambit was delayed to ensure that they get the script and tone right. According to Kinberg, the script is finally complete and they could begin filming later this year:

We’ve got to get the script right. We just didn’t get the script to the place where we all thought the movie deserved. So we’re still working on the script. We’re very close, actually, to being done with the script. And the hope is that Channing [Tatum] has a couple of movies he has to shoot, but that we would shoot at the end of this year, or the beginning of next year.

It’s looking really good. I’m not going to say anything about it content-wise. I think one of the things that I’ve learnt on all these movies – and maybe the lesson was best learned for me on Deadpool – is the most important thing is getting the tone and the voice right. That the storytelling, the actual narrative, the plots are sort of interchangeable and disposable, ultimately.

Kinberg’s thoughts on Deadpool echo those of Marvel’s Kevin Feige, so it’s comforting to know that the higher-ups at Fox understand that that film was successful because it really nailed the tone and the voice of the character — not because it was rated R.

As for Tatum, he’s committed to starring in the Men in Black / Jump Street crossover and Logan Lucky, Steven Soderbergh’s “hillbilly heist” movie. So it may be a while before the actor is available to commit to Gambit again. Kinberg goes on to explain how the project is unique, while revealing that Gambit also happens to be a heist movie:

If I ask you what your favourite movies are, you’re not going to tell me about the plot. You’re going to tell me you love this character. And so what we’ve really tried to do with Gambit is make sure that we get the voice of that character right and the tone of the comics 100% on the page. It’s a very unique tone. It’s unique from Deadpool, it’s unique from the X-Men. It’s a heist movie that we’ve never done in these kinds of films before. He’s a con-man. And so that’s really where we’ve spent our time.

Fox has yet to set another release date for Gambit.

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