Channing Tatum’s mysterious character in Bullet Train could play a bigger role in the movie’s story than he seems to. Directed by David Leitch, Bullet Train follows a retired assassin codenamed Ladybug (Brad Pitt), who is assigned to retrieve a briefcase from a Japanese bullet train bound for Kyoto Station. Bullet Train features an assortment of different characters crisscrossing into each other’s respective missions, with the whole story being manipulated by the villainous crime boss known as the White Death (Michael Shannon).
In the cast of Bullet Train, Channing Tatum portrays an unnamed passenger aboard the train who provides some assistance to Ladybug as the main character tries to evade his pursuers. But then Tatum’s character disappears from the movie completely without explanation. However, one fan theory suggests the character was never sincerely helping Ladybug at any point. It turns out that Ladybug’s unnamed “ally” might have actually been keeping tabs on him and the other characters aboard the train.
Channing Tatum’s appearance in Bullet Train might seem somewhat arbitrary, but David Leitch’s movies frequently include big cameos. This began with the Leitch-helmed Deadpool 2, which featured Brad Pitt appearing as Vanisher in the sequel, albeit only on-screen briefly due to his invisibility powers. Leitch continued that trend with Ryan Reynolds appearing in a minor role in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, which also includes a Kevin Hart cameo in an airplane scene.
Bullet Train continues Leitch’s A-list cameo trend with Reynolds appearing again in Bullet Train as Carver, the assassin whom Ladybug is replacing on the train. With David Leitch bringing so many A-listers on board to cameo in his directorial efforts, it is no surprise that Channing Tatum should be the latest to do so with his minor role in Bullet Train. Of course, while the big star cameos in Leitch’s movies are indeed just that, they always maintain some significance to the story. In Tatum’s case, his might be the first hidden importance.
As Reddit user u/AdamSmasherTime has theorized, Channing Tatum’s character in Bullet Train might actually be in the employ of the White Death and was placed on the train to oversee the crime boss’s revenge mission. As Ladybug learns during the ending of Bullet Train, all the assassins aboard the train had some tangential connection to the death of the White Death’s wife, including his own son (Logan Lerman). The White Death pulled strings behind the scenes to get each of the assassins present on the bullet train, hoping to get them to slaughter each other.
The fan theory suggests that Tatum’s character is on the train to ensure the White Death’s plot goes according to plan, citing that the crime boss “seems to have insider knowledge from on board the train.” Once the bullet train made it to Kyoto Station, the sudden disappearance of Tatum’s character is easier to understand. His job complete, the character departed the train at its penultimate stop. At that point, he informed the White Death that everyone he wanted to be on the train was there, including Bullet Train‘s wisecracking duo Lemon and Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bryan Tyree Henry), who believe they’re working for him.
The non-linear story of Bullet Train is one of the movie’s best assets, with every character’s journey intersecting with each other’s in the frequent flashbacks. Though Bullet Train is heavily predicated on the theme of luck, Channing Tatum’s character adds more layers to that. First, it makes the interweaving nature of the story even more layered, with Tatum adding another character who is in some way connected to the movie’s many parallel stories. It also shows the White Death as a man who leaves nothing to chance, showing the opposite side of the movie’s luck theme.
The White Death’s wife died in an assassination, by Carver, intended for him, making her, in a larger sense, a victim of bad luck. Tatum’s character exemplifies the lengths the White Death goes to for his vengeance. However, Brad Pitt’s Ladybug filling in for Carver ruins the White Death’s revenge plot. Additionally, the trap the Prince sets on the White Death’s handgun also kills him when he tries to shoot Ladybug with it. The White Death, too, was thwarted by bad luck, but Tatum’s character being his handpicked spy in Bullet Train shows that it was never for lack of trying.
More: Why Bullet Train Should Get A Prequel (Instead Of A Sequel)