Like its other main characters, Guardians of the Galaxy gave a fair amount of insight into the team’s heavy hitter, Drax the Destroyer, from the death of his wife and daughter driving him to seek vengeance to being unable to understand metaphors. However, there was one thing that went unexplained during the movie: why he has those tattoos over his body. Visually they may have looked cool, but no one just makes their body a tapestry on a whim. Fortunately, we now know the reason he has them thanks to a deleted scene.
After getting into drunken shenanigans with digitally unfinished versions of Rocket and Groot, Dave Bautista’s Drax explains the origins of his tattoos in the scene from The Huffington Post. He starts off saying:
This is the history of my life. This here, my soul union with Ovette upon Mount Kilos.
From there, Drax goes into what he’s lost in his life, including the only time he’s ever wept (it’s hard to make out what that was over the loud music). Rocket then asks if he cried when his wife and daughter were killed by Ronan. Drax grows enraged and tells the anthropomorphic raccoon not to speak their names. This kicks off a drunken argument between the two, where Rocket says he’s experienced his own form of family tragedy.
So Drax, like many, has used his tattoos to show his life experiences, both good and bad, across his body. While this scene was left out of the final cut, we know that eventually the drunken Drax made the mistake of calling Ronan and his forces to Knowhere to exact revenge, but this backfired, allowing the evil Kree to swipe the Power Stone.
Since Guardians of the Galaxy explained how Drax lost his family at the hands of Ronan, it’s likely James Gunn and the other editors felt this scene was redundant. Fans already knew that Drax had experienced his fair share of tragedy, and while explaining what the tattoos mean is nice side information, it wasn’t necessary to keep the plot moving forward. At least we can take comfort knowing Drax has entered a new stage of his life with new friends. While he managed to get some justice through Ronan’s death, he now has his sights set on Thanos as the real driving force behind the murder of his family. Also, now that he's traveling across the galaxy with the other Guardians, it’s possible he may get more tattoos to represent his new adventures.
Audiences will learn more about Drax when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is released on May 5, 2017, but this deleted scene is among the many bonus features included on the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two Collection, which is now available on Amazon.