While it seems that Dave Bautista is almost done playing Drax The Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, the character’s creator doesn’t think it would be an issue to replace him if the series called for it. While he will be reprising his role for the third Guardians movie, Bautista, who is currently ripping up Netflix in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, has said that for a man of his age, he feels like he is beyond wanting to play a character that never wears a shirt. He also commented that Marvel Studios could have done more to explore the character like many of the other Guardians.
Now it seems that Jim Starlin, who created the character of Drax way back in 1973 for Marvel Comics, has said that he can see where Bautista is coming from and can respect his reasons for wanting to leave the role.
Speaking to Inverse, Starlin said, “I can understand hitting 54 and not wanting to take your shirt off anymore. The Marvel Universe is going to keep trucking along and they found that they have made money on cosmic stuff. So they will more than likely are going to do more of it. There may be another Drax down the line; somebody else who hopefully has half the comedic timing of Bautista.”
While Marvel have made the decision to recast some prominent characters in the past, most notably Hulk who was originally played by Ed Norton before Mark Ruffalo took over and made the role very much his own, it has usually been characters who have had limited screen time up to the point the actor was replaced. By the time Guardians 3 rolls around, Dave Bautista will have prominently played the master of invisibility in three Guardians movies as well as the ensembles of Infinity War and Endgame, which gives him a running total of five – as currently known – appearances. To replace him at this point would be the most notable change of actor that Marvel have done, and I’m not sure it would go down with the legions of Drax fans out there.
While only select parts of Drax’s backstory have been touched on in the MCU, such as Drax’s hatred for Thanos, who was responsible for the death of his family, there is more to learn about the character when delving deeper into the source comics. Drax began life as Arthur Douglas. It was Douglas’ family that the Mad Titan killed, but he also killed Douglas, who was then resurrected by one of Marvel’s cosmic beings as Drax the Destroyer, and the one purpose he had was to destroy Thanos. So while Marvel did seem to begin to bring Drax’s story into the movies, it could be argued that to do so fully would perhaps have over expanded some already bladder-busting runtimes and diverted away from the current stories being told.
While Starlin could see that other Guardians had been given more personal screen time, he also didn’t necessarily believe that Drax needed a long and detailed backstory. “Rocket got more in his retelling, and Gamora got the lion’s share of it, but I thought Drax was the best of the lot of those characters. He’s certainly the comedic star. I didn’t think he needed any more to tell you the truth. It’s pretty simple. He’s a big hulking brute who lost his family.”
It will be a while yet before we know if Bautista is completely done with the character. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 3 doesn’t arrive in theaters until May 2023, and it will be probably not until then we know how his character will be moving forward, if at all, in the MCU.