Last month, Stargate: Atlantis and Game of Thrones alum Jason Momoa appeared to have locked up the role of muscle-bound, super-powered, alien warrior Drax the Destroyer in Marvel and director James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy movie. However, a deal failed to materialize reportedly due to Momoa wanting a higher salary than offered, so the studio went back to the drawing board and re-started testing actors for the role once again.
Previously (but unofficially) shortlisted candidates for the Drax role include Old Spice commercial sensation Isaiah Mustafa and celebrity trainer-turned actor Brian Patrick Wade (Generation Kill), as well as WWE and MMA fighter-turned actor Dave Bautista (The Man with the Iron Fists). We can now confirm one of these ripped gentlemen as having landed the Guardians role in question.
Heat Vision is reporting that Bautista has finalized a deal to play Drax in Gunn's inter-galactic superhero adventure, where he will costar with Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) playing Peter Quill a.k.a. Star Lord: a U.S. pilot who inadvertently ends up in the far reaches of outer space and goes on the run with a misfit band of extraterrestrial ex-cons. Marvel President Kevin Feige said Guardians will "take the brunt of the cosmic side of the [Marvel movie] universe" and primarily unfold far away from Earth - hence, the importance of casting someone as charismatic as Pratt to serve as the audience's guide to bizarre alien characters and settings.
Drax, by comparison, is more the silent, physical, green-skinned brute type, who (in the comic books) died as a human and was later resurrected as, essentially, a biological weapon with one purpose: to hunt down and kill Thanos, the "Mad Titan" glimpsed in the mid-credits scene for The Avengers (who will also feature in the more-standalone plot for Guardians). Bautista doesn't have much in the way of complex acting experience under his belt, but he easily meets the requirements to convincingly bring Drax to life in cinematic form.
Casting for the other central Guardians characters remains ongoing, as no one has yet signed on to tackle such fantastical characters as Groot (a tree-like humanoid) and Rocket Racoon - who is going to be realized through a combination of motion capture and digital animation (a la the flying monkey Finley in Oz the Great and Powerful) - as well as supporting players, which may include members of the Nova Corps. We expect to learn more over the forthcoming weeks, as production will be getting underway at Shepperton Studios in London this Summer.
Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins when Iron Man 3 releases on May 3rd, 2013, followed by Thor: The Dark World on November 8th, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4th, 2014, and then Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014. It concludes with The Avengers 2 on May 1st, 2015.
Phase Three begins when Ant-Man releases on November 6th, 2015.