Despite his excitement, Dave Bautista wasn't initially on board with the direction his character was taking in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 script. Reviews for the upcoming James Gunn-directed sequel have been positive thus far, and the movie's pre-sale tickets are currently tracking ahead of Joss Whedon's Avengers: Age of Ultron. All in all, things are looking good for the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy.
The sequel hits North American theaters this Friday, and it's expected to pull in almost $160 million domestically. With over $100 million already under its belt from international markets, Vol. 2 is poised for a big box office haul. And not long after it releases, fans of the ragtag group will get the chance at seeing their favorite heroes in action in Avengers: Infinity War and Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Although, Bautista may hope for a different direction for his character in those movies.
Speaking with CBR, Bautista expressed his initial dissatisfaction with the script for Vol. 2, particularly in the direction the studio was taking his character:
“I was excited about the script, [but] when I first read the script, I wasn’t crazy about my part. It went a different direction than what I thought they were going to go with Drax. That’s just because I was expecting one thing and got another. So I was a little bit thrown off at first. Also, what I usually do when I get a script is I read my dialogue first; I just didn’t really get the jokes. I just didn’t think Drax was that significant in the film, and I don’t find myself funny at all. So I remember reading, and I’m just sitting there not laughing. Like, wow, it was disappointing because I thought Drax was going to be so much more.”
Bautista's excitement may have waned a little bit after reading the script, but it didn't take long for him to understand why Gunn and the studio had taken his character in that particular direction. He said things started to "click" when the cast sat down for the first table read:
“When we sat down for the table read, is when it clicked. It clicked in my head. For one, I could hear everybody doing their own parts, and it was just so funny and deep, and some of it sad. But also, when I would say my lines and people would laugh, it would kind of start to make sense.”
But what really convinced Bautista of the script -- and regained his excitement -- was when the studio cast Pom Klementieff as the superhero Mantis. The former WWE star said he screen tested with a couple of actresses, but he and Pom just "meshed well together." Like him, "she just wears her heart on her sleeve, and she’s just got that emotional range." She's also able to "deliver a joke in a deadpan manner," which he liked
Bautista reiterated the same thoughts in an interview with Screen Rant, saying that he thinks Drax and Mantis' chemistry is "amazing," and that "they are like two odd little kids playing together." Drax's characterization in the first movie is very much like his character in the comics -- albeit with a few alterations -- and we see that in his straight-faced delivery of his jokes and lines. The actor may not have been happy with the script at first, but it seems like things worked out in the end. Furthermore, Gunn has promised a more "significant role" for Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy 3, along with a "full-fledged" Groot, so perhaps Drax will get his chance to also shine in a future Guardians installment. Until then, fans still have this week's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to look forward to.