The Big Reason Dave Bautista Turned Down Starring In James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad

Dave Bautista in My Spy

Dave Bautista built a strong professional relationship with writer/director James Gunn on the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies, where Bautista played Drax the Destroyer. So when it was announced that Gunn would pen and helm The Suicide Squad, there were a lot of people who wondered if Gunn might recruit Bautista to the DC Extended Universe. As it turns out, Bautista could indeed have starred in the next movie featuring Task Force X, but he turned down the opportunity to work with another DCEU filmmaker.

2021 is a big year for Dave Bautista, as not only is he appearing as Glossu Raban in Dune, he’s also starring in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Netflix movie Army of the Dead, where he plays Scott Ward, the lead hero. Here’s what Bautista told EW about how he came to be part of Army of the Dead, which resulted in him having to drop out of The Suicide Squad:

I had this chip on my shoulder and was looking for juicy [dramatic roles]. Then I read the script and it was a lot deeper and had more layers than I thought. And also, to be quite frank, I wanted to work with Zack.

I can’t imagine it was easy for Dave Bautista to give up appearing in The Suicide Squad, both because he would have been able to work with James Gunn again and score a foothold in the DCEU. Nevertheless, he was clearly enamored with Zack Snyder’s vision for Army of the Dead, so that was prioritized. This will just be the latest action-related credit on Bautista’s resume, with his previous movies including Riddick, Spectre, the latter two Escape Plan movies, Stuber and My Spy.

So who would Dave Bautista have played in The Suicide Squad? The actor didn’t say, but last summer, he revealed on social media that after being fan-casted as Batman villain Bane, he tried his best to score the role, but it didn’t work out. Naturally The Batman would be a logical place for a new take on Bane to appear, but the character also been part of The Suicide Squad in the comics. Perhaps there’s a version of The Suicide Squad where Bane served as Task Force X’s main muscle instead of King Shark.

In any case, unless James Gunn was able to squeeze a Dave Bautista cameo into The Suicide Squad, we won’t be seeing his face there. As for Army of the Dead, it follows a group of mercenaries who must infiltrate a zombie-invested Las Vegas to seize all the money left behind in the casinos when the city was evacuated. Bautista’s costars include Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Garret Dillahunt, Raúl Castillo, Omari Hardwick, Tig Notaro, Theo Rossi and Hiroyuki Sanada. Here’s how Bautista amusingly summarized his Army of the Dead experience:

We're running around killing zombies on craps tables. It's just a ton of fun.

It’s also worth remembering that Dave Bautista and James Gunn will be teaming back up soon for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn was rehired onto the MCU threequel shortly after he signed onto The Suicide Squad, and he confirmed last November that the script is finished. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is expected to begin principal photography in late 2021 and be released sometime in 2023.

Netflix hasn’t announced Army of the Dead’s 2021 release date yet, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for that information. Those of you eager to see Dave Bautista in the world of Dune can do so when it premiere in theaters and on HBO Max on October 1. Browse through our 2021 release schedule to learn what other movies are arriving later this year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.