Marvel Actor Says Studio “Dropped the Ball” With ‘Guardians’ Character

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guardians of the galaxy from left: zoe saldana as gamaora, bradley cooper sean gunn as rocket raccoon, chris pratt as peter quill aka star lord, vin diesel as groot, dave bautista as drax the destroyer

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 — now with an official 2023 release date — is one of the most hotly anticipated upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 films. With director James Gunn indicating that Guardians 3 would act as a bookend to his trilogy, one Marvel Cinematic Universe veteran believes his Guardians character deserved better. Dave Bautista, in a new interview, says he believes Marvel Studios really “dropped the ball” when it comes to the storyline of his character, MCU’s Drax.

guardians
Credit: Marvel

Dave Bautista has portrayed Drax the Destroyer in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). A former WWE superstar, Bautista has delivered not only an intense physicality to the role of Drax, but a distinctive comedic aspect that instantly grabbed Marvel fans. However, Bautista says that Marvel Studios leaned into the comic relief element of Drax more than they should have, reducing the potential impact of the character. Bautista feels that audiences didn’t get to see enough of Drax — and not because he’s mastered the ability of standing so incredibly still…

drax guardians
Credit: Marvel Studios

While doing press for his upcoming film Army of the Dead (2021), from director Zack Snyder, Bautista told Collider that there was much more to Drax the Destroyer that Marvel missed out on, saying,

“…you look at [Drax] and he looks terrifying, but Drax gets his a** kicked more than any other Marvel character… The whole “Destroyer” thing they just threw that out the window…people just fell so in love with the comedic side of Drax they tapped into that, then they tapped into it more, then they really dug a hole into it. But we missed a huge boat on that character and I don’t think it’ll ever come back around. But I’m really just looking forward to finishing out this whole journey.” 

To be certain, Bautista harbors no ill will toward Marvel Studios. While continuing to express gratitude at having been cast as the iconic Guardian, Bautista acknowledges Drax has been a breakout role for the actor. However, Bautista also feels that Marvel Studios missed out on an opportunity to give his character some real depth, revealing,

“That role changed the trajectory of my life. It’s always going to be special to me. Now that I’m four films in…I really wished they would have invested more in Drax, personally. Because I think Drax has more of a story to tell. I think Drax has a really interesting backstory which they dropped the ball on. That’s no dig on Marvel. They had their slate, I know what they’re focused on, that’s what they have slated out. But man, I think they really missed the ball on Drax. He has such a great backstory. Selfishly, as a performer, that would have given me the opportunity to show different sides of Drax, emotionally. And physically as well.” 

guardians 2
Credit: Marvel Studios

With the first two volumes of Guardians from director James Gunn telling the story of Marvel Cinematic Universe fan favorites Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Drax (Dave Bautista),  time appears to be running out for the Guardians as we know them. Dave Bautista has said he’s done with Drax after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but he’ll be leaving on good terms with Marvel Studios and James Gunn, according to his playful Tweet from the actor, reading,

“Drax isn’t going anywhere. he just won’t be played by this dude! by the time G3 comes out I’ll be 54 yrs old for gods sake! im expecting everything to start sagging any second now”

Director James Gunn responded that Bautista is his one and only Drax, Tweeting,

“There’s no Drax for me without you, buddy! You ARE the MCU’s Drax the Destroyer and, as far as I’m concerned, could never be replaced. And you have the right to do whatever you want with your acting choices! @DaveBautista”

Despite his regrets with Drax’s story arc, Dave Bautista can’t wait to get back to work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 (2023). Recounting some of the early opinions of the first Guardians movie, from back when Marvel Cinematic Universe movies were anything but the sure bet they are today, Bautista said,

“That’s a full journey. We started together, not a lot of people, unless you were seriously into comics, even knew who the Guardians were. People were speculating, oh, a professional wrestler is playing Drax, is this gonna be the first Marvel movie to flop? It was a lot of that out until the film came out and people fell in love with it. These are not my words, I don’t want to get beaten up for this, but I’ve heard people say this is like the new Star Wars. People are going to look back on Guardians the way our generation looks back on Star Wars. Someone saying that, like that’s a bold statement. That hits me.”

There was a chance that Marvel audiences would have seen more of Drax in a rumored spinoff MCU film featuring Mantis (Pom Klementieff). James Gunn wanted to be involved in the project, but ultimately Marvel passed. Bautista, speaking of the possible Drax and Mantis teamup, said

“There were talks for a while about a Drax and Mantis film. It was really because it was James Gunn’s idea. He really wanted to do a Drax and Mantis film. He laid it out to me. I thought it was such a brilliant idea, but I haven’t heard any follow-up from the studio…”

Do you want more Drax in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know in the comments!

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