Dave Bautista was one James Gunn’s most dedicated supporters after he was briefly fired from Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3, going so far as to threaten to walk out of making future Marvel movies and excitedly volunteering to join Gunn’s The Suicide Squad when that project first started coming together. When the trailer for The Suicide Squad came out, though, there was no sign of Bautista. So what happened? Was there a secret falling out? Does he secretly love David Ayer’s Suicide Squad and he was offended that Warner Bros. brought in Gunn to make his own good version? Did Disney send some hired goons to remind him that the Mouse owns Hollywood and it would be bad for his health to join Gunn at DC?
No, it’s not any of those exciting things. He actually just got a better offer somewhere else—specifically Netflix. Bautista is starring in Zack Snyder’s upcoming zombie movie Army Of The Dead on Netflix, and as he explained to Digital Spy, he didn’t have room in his schedule for both that and The Suicide Squad. He says it would’ve been a “smaller role” in The Suicide Squad, and by working with Netflix he gets to play a lead character, he gets to “build a relationship with Netflix,” and he gets “paid a lot more money.”
Those points are all tough to argue with, especially since Netflix has such a proud history of constantly reusing actors from project to project (shoutout to Rob Morgan), but Bautista says he still felt the need to call Gunn and apologize. Luckily, he and Gunn are good buddies, and Gunn not only understood but said that he’s “proud” that Bautista is in the kind of position now where he has to make choices like this.