The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a well-oiled machine at this point, with a decade of filmmaking behind its methodical moneymaking process. But there have been a few bumps in the MCU's tenure, with some actors being recast and schedule changes occurring. Perhaps the biggest blemish in recent memory was the firing of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.
Disney fired James Gunn from his position within the Guardians franchise last July, after controversial tweets from a decade ago resurfaced. He's recently been reinstated, after the Guardians threequel was put on indefinite hold for a series of months. Drax actor Dave Bautista was one of the most vocal defenders the filmmaker, and actually believes the studio quickly realized that Gunn's departure was a misstep. While discussing that there was no bad blood between himself and Disney, Bautista said:
Yeah, I do get that sense. I’m not surprised, especially now, since they’ve gone back on their decision. It’s just my opinion, but I think they knew early on that it was a bad call. I think they just didn’t know how to come back from that bad call. I was never really disrespectful; I never shit on Disney. It was a bad decision, and I just called them out on it. That’s all. It wasn’t anything out of malice or disrespect. It was just calling them on a bad decision and trying to make them see the big picture. It was a very rash decision.
Dave Bautista isn't typically one to hold his tongue, especially when it comes to the firing and reinstatement of his friend/colleague James Gunn. And while he was a vocal critic of Gunn's original exit from the franchise, the 50 year-old wrestler/actor seems to have made peace with the situation. Now that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 can continue on as planned (albeit quite delayed), he's buried the hatchet and let the feud die down.
The decision to rehire James Gunn did come fairly quickly, even if the uncertainty felt long and excruciating for the months were the House of Mouse offered no updates. It's this timing that makes Dave Bautista think the studio quickly realized the error of its ways. Because while other Marvel movies have changed directors and made it out unscathed, the Guardians of the Galaxy movies are deeply connected to the director's humor, point of view, taste in music, etc. Ergo, the cause to rehire.
James Gunn's departure last July came alongside a wave of famous celebrities being fired for making controversial comments. Gunn's came in the form of decade-old tweets, which the director quickly apologized for. But he was swiftly canned, putting one of the MCU's most beloved franchises in jeopardy in the process. After all, there's really no one who could replicate Gunn's perspective within the property.
Following the cast's letter in solidarity with James Gunn and the months of radio silence, Disney announced that the director had been reinstated to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, based on his original draft of the script. In his same conversation with THR, Dave Bautista explained how he was just trying to stay on his friend's side. Even if that meant possibly quitting his role if Gunn's script wasn't used.
Basically, I just wanted my friend rehired, and I never really thought about anything else. I wasn’t so concerned about my career at that point. I figured if my career was over, I could always fall back on professional wrestling. That’s one big perk about being a professional wrestler, I can go back to that because nobody can ever take that skill away from me. I will always have it. Hopefully the WWE would always open the door to me, but if they didn’t I could wrestle elsewhere if I was starving and needed to make a living.
Dave Bautista's career has been steadily building over the past few years, in no smart part due to this role as Drax in the Guardians movies. Bautista is a consistent scene stealer within the MCU, and has also had roles in high profile blockbusters like Blade Runner 2049 and Spectre. But he was willing to risk it all and go back to wrestling if that meant sticking by James Gunn, regardless of its cost.
Ultimately it all worked out, and James Gunn will be able to complete the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy as planned. And Dave Baustista will once again reprising his role as Drax The Destroyer. He's also got a few projects ahead of him, so it doesn't look like Bautista ruined his career by being such a staunch defender of Gunn.
As for James Gunn himself, the months between his departure from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and eventual reinstatement offered some interesting career developments. First, he was given a chance to deconstruct the comic book genre by producing the genre defying horror movie Brightburn. While the dark origin story could've faire better at the box office, it was a non-Marvel movie for Gunn to focus on in the uncertain time in his career.
James Gunn also pivoted over to the DC side of things, signing in to direct The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. This seems like an excellent project for Gunn to get involved in, as he's shown a penchant for quirky ensemble blockbusters. There's been some rumors that Dave Bautista might be joining the mysterious cast of characters (as Bane perhaps?), although there hasn't been any official confirmation of his casting.
The Suicide Squad will actually be hitting theaters before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, so there's going to be quite some waiting before any news about the highly anticipated threequel finally arrive. But since Gunn shut down the Asgardians of the Galaxy rumors, perhaps the writer/director will remain active on social media, and slowly reveal more information about Vol. 3.
Dave Bautista's Drax is in Avengers: Endgame-- being re-released in theaters. In the meantime check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.