While the dust has long settled on the firing of James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the whole messy affair left a bad taste in the mouth of many of the director’s fans and associates, not least actor Dave Bautista, who continues to be one of the filmmaker’s most vocal defenders.
The director of the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies was dropped from the third installment after far-right personalities Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec unearthed incendiary tweets posted by Gunn prior to his involvement with Disney. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Bautista describes these old posts as “gross … terrible jokes” that were written for “shock value,” but also stressed that Gunn himself “wouldn’t hurt a soul,” before calling into question Disney’s decision to cave to pressure from the far right:
“But at the end of the day, the thing I know the most, is that they were jokes, and this harsh, rash decision to fire him empowered some horrible, horrible people.”
In the wake of the incident, Bautista wasn’t shy about condemning Disney for their choice. Naturally, this made the actor the target of some backlash of his own, but Bautista holds firm that he did the right thing by standing up for Gunn:
“It was draining. But if I’m not the guy who defends my friends, who am I?”
Though Gunn is no longer at the helm of Vol. 3, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige recently confirmed that the film will still use his script, and according to various anonymous and not-so-anonymous sources, it’s a fine screenplay at that.
As for whether Bautista might come back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, that remains to be seen, with the actor mentioning last year that he’s not sure if he wants to keep working under Disney. Either way, he’s already spoiled that we’ll be seeing Drax at least one more time when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26th, 2019, so at least there’s that to look forward to.