Just as Marvel movie fans were getting the chance to see “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” on May 6, they were also getting an update from James Gunn that filming had officially wrapped on “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” The end of production marked the finish line for Dave Bautista’s MCU tenure as Drax the Destroyer, a role he has repeatedly said he is retiring from after this third “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie.
“Haven’t found the words yet,” Bautista wrote on social media about saying goodbye to Drax. “It ended so suddenly and I was on to my next film before I could process it all. End of a journey that changed my life.”
Bautista told Ellen Degeneres last summer that he wouldn’t continue playing Drax beyond the third “Guardians” movie, adding, “You know, the journey’s come full circle and I’m ready to kind of step aside and wrap it up. I didn’t think [me leaving the MCU] was going to be news because I figured everybody assumed it. This is how this works — we work in trilogies, and James Gunn has already announced that it’s his last film and when James is done, I’m done.”
“After over 100 days of shooting and over 3,000 shots, this is the slate for the final shot of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,’ presented to me by the camera crew,” Gunn wrote May 7 on Twitter. “It was an easy shot of Rocket seated…and it took everything in me not to break down sobbing on the spot…shooting that last shot was a reminder of the warm impermanence of life and love, and how that impermanence makes it so precious, so valuable, and is a good reason to be grateful for what I have right now.”
Bautista has long stressed that his love for playing Drax had everything to do with Gunn, who was originally fired by Disney from directing “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” because of inappropriate jokes he made on Twitter in the past. Bautista routinely spoke out against Disney in support of Gunn, and he refused to play Drax again unless Gunn was brought back. Disney eventually re-hired Gunn.
“I am contractually obligated [to do the third movie], but I think that Marvel and Disney –– if I had really stood my ground and said, ‘I don’t want to do this without James’ –– I think that they are decent enough that they would’ve let me out of my contract,” Bautista told Variety in 2019.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set for release on May 5, 2023.
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