The 7 roles Dave Bautista should play next that Dwayne Johnson can only dream of

Dave Bautista and Dwayne Johnson
Rich Polk/Getty Images/WWE

Though Dwayne Johnson and Dave Bautista share a very similar past, the differences in the ways the two WWE-champions-turned-actors have approached Hollywood have become starkly obvious in the years since they made their debut. So much so that there is a whole faction of much-desired roles that the Black Adam can only desire while the MCU star is, without even the tiniest sliver of a doubt, perfect to play.

Both Johnson and Bautista gained popularity as famous WWE champions only to ditch the fame to turn to a life of acting. But their trajectories couldn’t have been more different. While Johnson has made a career of playing himself — instead of taking on the persona of his character — in mega franchises, Bautista has aimed for roles that demand him to either contribute via action-heavy scenes or enrich the part with a dab of his rather underappreciated character acting skills.

While we aren’t exactly fans of Bautista throwing shade at Johnson, we have to accept the truth — that there are roles out there that the latter may covet, which he might bag thanks to his influence, but they would be better off being played by the Guardians of Galaxy star. 

Kratos, the God of War

Kratos from God of War
Image via Santa Monica Studios

Unless you checked out of 2022 early, you could not have missed Amazon Prime Video ordering a live-action series of PlayStation’s popular video game franchise God of War. The upcoming show will obviously be focusing on the video game’s main character, Kratos, a Spartan warrior who eventually dethrones Ares to become the God of War. Despite his ferocious exterior, the empathetic character is enveloped in a fog of tragedy.

Thanks to Bautista’s hunky frame and his ability to pull a 360-degree twist within the acting spectrum — something he has been impressively flexing in his recent roles — it is easy to imagine him as Kratos. Seeing that even the recently released Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special chose to have a woman mistake Drax for the God of War, it looks like this imaginary casting also has the Marvel Studios’ blessing.

DC’s Lobo

Lobo from DC Comics
Image via DC Comics

With both Bautista and James Gunn — who has been vocal about his appreciation of the actor — set to bid farewell to the MCU with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, it won’t be too far-fetched to hope that the Dune star follows the director to the DCU. While Johnson’s Black Adam hasn’t been the wonder he kept touting it was (and he still is), Bautista’s time in the DC universe probably won’t be in danger of being cut short. After all, even though he calls his Drax a “silly performance,” he made sure that the Guardian will be missed, even more than the so-called leader of the team

With that thought in mind, there are a number of characters Bautista could play in the DCU. He has already expressed his desire to play the villain Bane. But given his penchant for character acting, we are waging a failing battle here to stop envisioning him as Lobo. 

Yes, Jason Momoa is also rumored to be up for the role but compared to Bautista… it isn’t hard to pick which actor should play Lobo, who is super-strong, ruthless, an expert marksman, a genius, and an undeniably engaging wisecracker. The DC anti-hero is an explosive cocktail of Superman, Deadpool, Wolverine, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and every other badass as well as hilarious character you can think of. So, who better than Bautista to bring him to life on-screen?

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway - Getty
Earl Theisen/Getty Images

While we love Dwayne Johnson, it would be like trying to imagine a flat Earth to even think about the former WWE fighter attempting to play a real-life character. 

Bautista is, hands down, better suited for such roles. So why Ernest Hemingway, you ask? Well, unlike Johnson who is jumping from one mega flagship to another, Bautista has — time and again — expressed his desire to portray more defining roles whose success won’t be rooted in any existing franchise’s reputation. 

Back in 2021, the actor shared his dream of playing the legendary novelist and journalist in a chat with Polygon. Hemingway has always been a larger-than-life figure who, for lack of better words, led a rather riveting life peppered with some very enticing conspiracy theories about him — he was allegedly a failed KGB spy. We can definitely see Bautista sticking to his promise of doing his on-screen adaptation “justice” and bringing in the emotional nuance necessary to portray Hemingway.

Angron in Warhammer 40k

Angron in Warhammer 40k
Image via Games Workshop

Courtesy of Henry Cavill, a Warhammer 40k series is all set to be a reality soon. Given that the project is in the very early stages of its production, there have obviously been no casting announcements. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t start fan-casting the actors best suited for its universe, right? This brings us to Bautista, who would be just perfect to play Angron, the powerful and savage primarch of the World Eaters Traitor Legion. 

Hagrid in the Harry Potter reboot

Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid in 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone'
Photo via Warner Bros. Pictures

First, let’s get this clear — no one, we mean no one can replace Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid. But rumors of Warner Bros. itching to reboot the franchise are getting stronger and if they are true, it is only a matter of time before we read news of new faces daring to compete with the wonders who turned the Harry Potter films into forever classics. 

But seeing that this unwanted thought train is already out there, how about Bautista playing Hagrid? He knows how to be goofy yet intimidating and has already given excellent performances as characters passionate to protect the ones they care about. While we would like WB to not touch the gem that is the Harry Potter films — they have already tarnished it enough with the Forbidden Beasts spin-off flicks — having Bautista wield that formidable pink umbrella would lessen the sting a bit. 

Khamûl in The Lord of Rings: Rings of Power

Easterling in The Lord of Rings
Image via New Line Cinema

Rings of Power is visiting Rhûn (or the Eastlands) in season two and though the Amazon Prime series already cast more than half of its characters, there is still space for some, there may be even a Bautista-shaped hole. We can definitely see him playing an Easterling — particularly Khamûl who becomes one of the Black Riders/Ringwraiths and is the Witch-King’s second-in-command.

Marcus Fenix in Gears of War

Marcus Fenix Gears of Ward
Image via Xbox Game Studios

Now, this one is another one of Bautista’s dream roles. A few years ago, we could not have deemed it possible for the actor to bring a major video game series like Gears of War to the silver screen. But since watching him in films like Dune and Army of the Dead, seeing him play the tragic yet adventurous life of the war hero, Sergeant Marcus Michael Fenix is a coveted fantasy. 

While The Rock fans would argue that he is equally capable of rocking these roles, the fact remains that Dwayne Johnson is yet to play a character in a film instead of just doing himself. And no, no matter how impressive his arched eyebrow looks, it will not be scoring any points for him in the character acting department.