With Guardians of the Galaxy, Dave Bautista‘s Drax the Destroyer became one of the standout characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Mean, menacing, but with a natural flair for comedy, Bautista made the instant leap from WWE star to rising Hollywood star, without having to suffer the indignity of making a few critical stinkers that many of his fellow pro wrestlers-turned-actors have had to do. But Bautista says it was that comedy talent that sunk Drax’s potential, leading Marvel Studios to “drop the ball” on the character’s backstory.
Bautista is preparing to wrap up his time as Drax the Destroyer in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but as his time with the socially-challenged warrior starts to come to an end, the actor can’t help but think of what might have been. In an interview with Collider, Bautista expresses a wish that Marvel Studios had given more time to Drax and his “really interesting backstory,” instead of doubling down on the character as a comedy foil:
“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. Because, if you notice, Drax, although he looks like a badass, you look at him and he looks terrifying, but Drax gets his ass 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.”
Drax’s tragic backstory was mentioned in the first Guardians of the Galaxy — his family dead at Ronan the Accuser’s hands, he vowed vengeance — but it’s true that he essentially became comedy relief in the sequel, especially in his pairing with Mantis (Pom Klementieff). There’s even more to Drax in the comics that the Guardians movies haven’t even been able to touch, and Bautista seems to think Marvel never will.
While Bautista still doesn’t know where director James Gunn is going to take Drax (though he ruled out any future Drax spin-offs), he’s positive this is the end for the character. Bautista will read the script for the first time when the cast gathers for a table read this November, potentially to bring an end to the unlikely team of misfits that became Marvel superstars.
“It’s yet to be seen, but if I can have somebody feeling that way about Guardians the way I feel and look back on Star Wars, that’s a life worth living,” Bautista concludes. “That’s a legacy, man. I’m really excited to wrap up this whole journey with these guys. I love them. I love the Guardians cast like family.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is slated to hit theaters on May 5, 2023.
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