James Gunn may have spouted the old “never say never” when addressing a potential Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 4, despite previously making it clear that it wasn’t on his personal agenda, but Dave Bautista has been a lot more forthcoming in regards to confronting his future as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The actor has been open in letting it be known that Vol. 3 will mark the end of the road for him in the franchise, based on a combination of his advancing years and desire to face new challenges in his career. The former professional wrestler will be 54 years old by the time Vol. 3 hits theaters in May 2023, so he’s decided it’s time to get out of the makeup chair for good as the team’s resident oblivious comic relief character Drax.
Bautista admitted that there’s every chance the role could be recast once he departs, and in a new interview, creator Jim Starlin shared those sentiments, saying:
“The Marvel Universe is going to keep trucking along and they found that they have made money on cosmic stuff. So they will more than likely are going to do more of it. There may be another Drax down the line; somebody else who hopefully has half the comedic timing of Dave Bautista.”
While Vol. 3 is set to mark the end of the line for the current iteration of the team, it’s by no means the swansong for the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise as a whole. After all, the first two installments combined to earn well over $1.6 billion at the box office, and the third chapter will likely yield the biggest returns yet given the six-year absence of the crew from our screens.
The comic books have seen the roster go through several reshuffles over the years, so if Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 4 does happen eventually, it’ll no doubt involve a personnel refresh on both sides of the camera, with Bautista one of the names poised to ride off into the sunset.