While his fellow castmates generally conveyed their opinions on the firing in an enigmatic and roundabout way, Bautista piled right in with direct, unvarnished criticism of Disney, all but daring the studio to sack him from the project. Clearly, he’s a man not afraid to rattle a few cages, recently making a statement that said the following:
Nobody’s defending his tweets, but this was a smear campaign on a good man. I spoke to Chris Pratt the day after it happened and he’s a bit religious so he wanted time to pray and figure it out, but I was more like: f*ck this. This is bullshit. James is one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve met. Where I’m at right now is that if [Marvel] don’t use that script, then I’m going to ask them to release me from my contract, cut me out or recast me. I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t.
Now that Disney’s confirmed that they won’t rehire Gunn for the film, Bautista’s launched a hilariously sarcastic broadside against the studio, saying on Twitter: Thanks @Disney !! Making America great again!
If you haven’t been following the story that closely, Bautista’s referencing of Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is because he (rightly) believes that Gunn’s predicament is the result of a far-right media campaign designed to put some fear into prominent outspoken critics of the Trump administration. The thinking goes that people will think twice before sticking their heads over the parapet and expressing political opinions if they know that doing so will result in armies of chuds scouring their internet history for muck to rake up.
My already high opinion of Bautista has skyrocketed over the last few weeks. He truly seems like a guy that prioritizes morality and exposing injustice above his career and monetary rewards. He’s even gone so far as to threaten to quit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 if Disney doesn’t use James Gunn’s script for the movie. And given that Drax is currently a small pile of dust after Infinity War, it’d be really easy to write him out of the MCU.
With all this drama, it remains to be seen whether Vol. 3 will begin shooting in early 2019 as originally scheduled. If they do want to hit that release window though, I expect we’ll be hearing rumors of a potential replacement for James Gunn very soon indeed. As always, watch this space for more.