What will Disney do about Drax in Avengers 4?

Sam Ashurst
“‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ without James Gunn just isn’t ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,'” Bautista wrote on social media.

There’s no getting away from it, Dave Bautista is pissed at Disney. Of all the Guardians actors to be disappointed in the studio’s decision to fire James Gunn over a series of old tweets (which were admittedly super-offensive and a bit weird), Bautista was by far the most open and vocal.

The first sign of Bautista’s feelings came very swiftly after Gunn’s firing was announced. The actor provided the first words of support from Gunn’s gang of alien outsiders.

But Bautista’s reaction escalated as it became clear that Disney weren’t going to change their minds – and he said some things some actors would regret and delete.

And the confrontation continued, with Bautista trolling Disney over the alt-right tweeter who outed Gunn in the first place, who doesn’t seem to be a particularly decent person himself.

The perceived political element to the targeting of Gunn (in revenge for his openly anti-Trump rhetoric) is a major factor of why Bautista is so annoyed. 

Bautista’s attitude is a big problem for Disney, who seem to be taking a head-in-sand approach to the situation in public, but must be having hushed discussions behind-the-scenes.

After all, if Gunn can be sacked for old tweets, it seems weird that Bautista’s open disdain currently appears to be overlooked by the company.

It’s already been publicly confirmed that he’s going to be in Avengers 4 and Guardians 3a scoop that came from the actor himself (which Disney must also have been annoyed by – NDAs? What NDAs?)

“I got a lot of texts saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re dead, your character is dead,’” Bautista said.

“They were really like heartbroken and I was like ‘I’m gonna be in [Avengers] 4. I’m gonna be in Guardians 3.’ I don’t know how they’re bringing me back, yeah but somehow I’m going to make it because, as far as I know, I am going to be in Guardians 3, so I have to be back.”

Yeah, but does he? Disney might have had other plans when it came to Avengers 4’s twists and turns, but tweak those twists and they do have a perfect get-out clause if they don’t want to carry on dealing with Bautista already built into the narrative.

It’s simple, Disney burns his contract to ashes and stores them next to Drax’s dust pile – the character doesn’t come back and neither does Bautista. A couple of reshoots to give the character some kind of send-off, a quick Guardians 3 rewrite (the production was recently put on hold), and Disney’s problems go away.

It’ll be a massive loss – Bautista is credited with improvising the funniest line of the film, and he’s a popular presence with fans and critics alike – but it’s a loss that makes sense in the narrative.

Drax is one of a long line of characters that need to kill Thanos to resolve their narrative satisfactorily, and unless around four different characters (Drax, Thor, Gamora, Nebula) all land a killing blow, Drax’s arc will feel disappointing. And, really, once Thanos is defeated, where does the character go? As funny and as brilliant as he is, what will be left for his character to do?

In terms of Drax’s expendability, it’s not like Benedict Cumberbatch is kicking off on Facebook about how much he hates Donald Duck or whatever – Marvel’s future is dependent on Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel and all the rest of the next-gen Avengers. Drax doesn’t comfortably fit into that structure.

So, yeah, it probably makes sense for Disney to ditch Drax, but it’s a precarious balance. Get it wrong, and you’ll upset the fans – and there’s been a few too many examples of that from Disney recently. After Solo suffered from The Last Jedi backlash (The Meg’s earned more at the box office), the last thing they need is a similar controversy to sweep the MCU.

Either way, Bautista The Tweeter isn’t going to calm down any time soon – and it’ll be fascinating to see how Disney deals with the situation if it escalates further.

One thing’s for sure, we bet Kevin Feige wishes the Infinity Gauntlet was real – if only for the use of the Time Stone…

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