Bautista Must Do Guardians of the Galaxy 3 If Marvel Wants Him To
There’s no way around it: if Marvel wants Dave Bautista to reprise his role as Drax for a third Guardians movie, regardless of the writer/director choice, then they can enforce that. Breach of contract in Hollywood is notoriously a messy issue and can cost an actor millions of dollars if they choose to fight it. One of the most infamous examples of this came when Kim Basinger dropped out of the film Boxing Helena. When she was sued for breach of contract, she ended up having to declare bankruptcy (as well as sell the town she owned). Preferably, these issues are dealt with outside of the courts, or the actor can take the least painful route and just do the acting required of them. It may not be their favorite choice but it’s probably the cheapest.
It’s easy to downplay Disney and Marvel’s power on an issue like this. With Disney set to own close to 40% of the American media landscape thanks to the upcoming acquisition of 21st Century Fox, they’re stronger than ever. No one actor can go against that and risk not only financial ruin but the end of their career. Bautista can kick up a fuss and make Marvel look bad but at the end of the day he possesses far less power than this mega corporation.
The issue with enforcing something like this is that Disney and Marvel would then have to deal with an actor on their payroll who is fulfilling their obligations but remains vocal in their opposition for what has become an increasingly unpopular decision. Would Bautista go on the Avengers 4 promotional trail and continue to support Gunn? Will he tweet about this every day until something is done? At what point does an already major PR issue become unmanageable for Disney? They can make Bautista turn up on set in Drax make-up and read his lines as directed but the optics of that would look unfavorable given Bautista’s own confession that he’s there under duress. Would they even want to keep him on the books if that were the case, and if not, what other options do they have?
Could Avengers 4 Kill Drax Off?
Audiences got the superhero blood-bath of a generation with Avengers: Infinity War, and while fans are comfortable in their knowledge that most of those heroes will return in the fourth film, it's open for some to not. Could this be reworked to write Drax out? Principal photography began in August of last year and wrapped in January 2018, with additional reshoots set for the next couple of months. Bautista has filmed his part, although it is possible he could be called back for reshoots.
It would be tricky but not unfeasible, but it would also present issues for fans and production alike. Would Drax be given a proper goodbye, as Bautista has deserved thanks to his stellar work in the role? Would he simply die off-screen or be replaced by a different actor? Or would the story be left intact and Drax’s absence from Guardians Vol. 3 left unexplained? If any of these options were on the table, each would carry its own problems and inspire fan backlash.
Replacing Bautista as Drax seems out of the equation for Disney. It would look too much like a callous move, shoving out the actor who criticized them, and it would be jarring for the character, who has been made so distinctive by Bautista’s work. The rest of the cast, who have all expressed their support for Gunn, may not approve of any replacement to their co-worker either.
Firing Gunn left behind a messier public relations issue than Disney may have foreseen. Aside from the political implications and the fan backlash, it cannot be ignored how their own cast members have opposed the decision wholeheartedly. Dave Bautista is merely the strongest and most resilient of this group. Bautista is one of the reasons Guardians of the Galaxy, which could have failed so disastrously, works as well as it does. It would be a great loss for Disney in more ways than one if he quit playing Drax, but the consequences of the topic go far beyond a mere contractual obligation.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019