It’s rare that you see an online interaction about superhero casting that makes you genuinely go “Aw,” but such is the relationship between James Gunn and Dave Bautista. Earlier this week, we reported on a Digital Spy interview that Bautista recently gave, outlining his reasons for starring in Netflix’s Army Of The Dead over appearing in Gunn’s upcoming The Suicide Squad (bigger part, useful connections, “a lot more money,” you get the gist). In that same interview, Bautista also noted that the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3, slated for May 2023, would probably be his last turn as highly literal breaker of foes Drax The Destroyer.
But when IGN reported that news, stating that it was likely to be the last time we saw Drax in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bautista humbly pushed back, suggesting that the part might be re-cast with a younger actor. Which is where the “aw” kicks in, because Gunn wasn’t having any of that, swiftly responding that “There’s no Drax for me without you, buddy!” (He also voiced his full support for Bautista taking whatever acting parts he wants, presumably as a reference to the Squad/Army situation.)
Of course, there is that whole “for me” aspect of the above comment; Gunn also made it clear, in a subsequent Twitter exchange, that there’s a pretty solid chance that Vol. 3 will be his last Guardians film. In response to a question about a hypothetical fourth movie, Gunn stated that, “Never say never, but I see Vol. 3 as the end of the Guardians’ story I started telling back with Vol. 1.” And since Marvel is still right in the middle of figuring out how it’s going to weather the need to cycle new stars in to replace its departing cohort of initial heroes, there’s no especially good way to predict whether a later director might not have an idea to reboot the Guardians in a younger form. Still, though: Gunn’s made it clear that Bautista “could never be replaced.” Which, again: Aw!