The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most powerful forces in studio filmmaking these days, yet it continues to generate bad will from the firing of Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn, who was let go by Disney after a bad-faith attack by right-wing trolls. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 is currently on hold, throwing a wrench into the movie’s 2020 release date (and the MCU’s overall release strategy), and now it appears one of the franchise’s biggest stars might not be returning.
It’s not hard to guess which one, as the large, burly ex-wrestler been very, very vocal about how much he disapproves of Gunn’s firing. Dave Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer in the franchise, previously said he’d quit if Gunn’s script isn’t used, but now, even with all signs pointing to Gunn’s script staying intact, the actor says he still may drop out.
During a recent interview on The Jonathan Ross Show (via The Hollywood Reporter), Bautista didn’t hold back. “To be honest with you, I don’t know if I want to work for Disney,” he said. Later, he added, “There’s a bit of an issue. It’s a bittersweet conversation. No—it’s a bitter, bitter conversation, because I’m not really happy with what they’ve done with James Gunn.”
That said, you’ll still see him in Avengers 4, as he recently told Digital Spy that he’s “shot most of it already.” But the Gunn situation, he adds, could also complicate the Guardians’ role in that film.
“It’s on permanent hold for now, and that may make a difference in what they do with our characters in Avengers 4,” he said. “To be honest with you, right now I really don’t know.”
He added, “I have some really great scenes that I hope they use. But I guess that it remains to be seen what they’ll do with the characters.”
If Bautista leaves, it would certainly change the texture of the MCU. The only previous recasting of a major character came when Don Cheadle stepped in for Terrence Howard as James Rhodes in between Iron Man and Iron Man 2, when the franchise still wasn’t really, well, a franchise. Should he go, however, we’d bet John Cena’s waiting, entrance music queued up, just behind the curtain.