James Gunn Wanted ‘Guardians’ Spinoff, Marvel Wasn’t Interested

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guardians of the galaxy

Credit: Marvel

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy are firm favorites of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as in the Marvel Comics. Neither completely altruistic nor downright iniquitous, the group debuted in director James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) as a ragtag team of loveable heroes.

Led by Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill/Star-Lord, the Guardians are made up of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Mantis (Pom Klemetieff), Groot (Vin Diesel), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and on occasion, Gamora’s sister and another daughter to Thanos, Nebula (Karen Gillan).

guardians of the galaxy
Credit: Marvel Studios

With a popular sequel — Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — sailing into theaters in 2016, the Guardians were further cemented as fan-favorite MCU characters. The journey continues with the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special releasing in 2022 and then finally, Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studios will debut the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5, 2023.

Both of these upcoming Guardians installments will be directed by Gunn — who is set to release his The Suicide Squad (2021) reboot this year for DC — after The Walt Disney Company rehired after they had fired him in response to some old, resurfaced tweets.

guardians of the galaxy 3
Credit: Marvel Studios

While audiences don’t know much about the next movies in the Guardians franchise, we do know that it is likely Chris Hemsworth’s Thor will appear in the third volume, and that Marvel Comics character Adam Warlock might play a vital role, after the post-credits scene from the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie.

However, it was confirmed last year that Star-Lord and the rest of the crew will star in the fourth installment in the Thor series. Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) is set to release next year as part of Marvel’s Phase 4 movie slate — joining Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) and the Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels (2022). Love and Thunder will bring a new female Thor into the MCU in the form of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster.

Guardians of the Galaxy Thor: Love and Thunder
Credit: Marvel Studios

It will be interesting to see how the on-screen chemistry between Hemsworth and Pratt plays out after their memorable time together in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). But, there was another equally iconic pairing in the Guardians movies. Bautista’s Drax and Klementieff’s Mantis quickly became fan-favorite characters in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, after the latter helped the Guardians defeat Star-Lord’s father, Ego — played by Kurt Russell in his MCU debut.

Sean Gunn confirms all cast members are returning to "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3"
Credit: Marvel Studios

Bautista has recently spoken about a planned Drax and Mantis spinoff movie that Gunn had in mind. However, it turned out Marvel wasn’t so sure.

What did Dave Bautista say?

In a recent interview with Digital Spy, the Drax actor shared information regarding the possibility of the rumored Drax and Mantis spinoff MCU movie.

“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…”

Drax saying Why is Gamora
Credit: Marvel Studios

Bautista went on to add:

“I don’t think they’re very interested, or it doesn’t fit into the way they have things mapped out.”

On whether Marvel fans will see any more of Drax the Destroyer, the Army of the Dead (2021) actor said:

“I mean, as far as my obligations, I’ve got Guardians 3, and that’s probably going to be the end of Drax.”

drax avengers endgame
Credit: Marvel

It would be a shame if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was the end of Drax the Destroyer, and by association, possibly the entire Guardians of the Galaxy crew. But with the Multiverse about to be explored in the Disney+ original television show, Loki — led by Tom Hiddleston — and in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), there really is no telling that this will definitely be the end.

Credit: Marvel Studios

We have seen that Marvel can bring back characters at any time. Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter and Daniel Brühl’s Baron Helmut Zemo recently starred in the streaming show The Falcon and the Winter Soldier after a five-year gap since their appearances in Captain America: Civil War (2016).

But if you don’t want to wait until 2022 to get your dose of Drax and the rest of the Guardians, you can find them currently starring in Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! in Disney California Adventure Park at Disneyland Resort. They will also soon be appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

It may be the end of Drax for now, but as they have shown time and time again — looking at you, Black Widow — the end is never really the end with Marvel.

Do you think a Drax and Mantis spinoff should happen?

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