It appears that Marvel Studios has filled the role of the man that was born to pile drive the menace of Thanos to death. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, the wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista, has signed on to play Drax the Destroyer in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy.
In the comics, Drax is a former human whose soul is taken after his death and placed into the body of Drax, a being created with the singular purpose of destroying Thanos – who after appearing in The Avengers will play a major part in Marvel’s Phase Two. His powers have changed over the years, but Drax is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe.
The 44-year old Bautista began his career as a wrestler in 2000 for Ohio Valley Wrestling, and then in 2002 he was hired by WWE. After spending time as a minor villain, he was rebranded with the incredibly clever and inventive stage name, Dave Batista. The removal of the “u” in his name was meant to signify that he was so tough he didn’t need any extra stinking vowels (citation needed).
Bautista, wrestling as Batista, then hit it big when he teamed up with the wettest man in professional sport entertainment, Triple H. Over the next eight year, Bautista rose in popularity and became one of the most popular wrestlers in the world. In 2010 he left the WWE and has since been focused on an MMA career, which may be put on hold now that his film career seems to be taking off. Along with the role of Drax, which will mean a multi-film deal and the possibility of appearing – and possibly clotheslining – the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth, Bautista will appear opposite Vin Diesel in the upcoming Riddick. Most recently, he appeared in RZA’s The Man with the Iron Fists, starring opposite Russell Crowe as a guy that liked to beat on people.
Bautista beat out several others for the role in James Gunn’s film, including the person most considered to be a front runner, Jason Momoa.
He joins Chris Pratt who is coming off a memorable role in Zero Dark Thirty. Pratt was recently cast in what is arguably the starring role of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, a pilot that ends up in space with a group of outcasts being hunted for something they possess. While the character of Drax is gifted with near invulnerability, flight, and power blasts (at least in some Marvel continuity), the character of Star-Lord has, well, a bunch of guns. So, not so much a superpower as just a guy that is well armed. He also wears a suit that gives him increased power and agility.
Expect more casting news in the months to come as Marvel looks to fill the roles of the sentient tree-like Groot, the laboratory-grown Rocket Raccoon, and the last-of-her-species adopted daughter of Thanos, Gamora.
The space-based story is going to be an important piece to Marvel’s puzzle as it enters its Phase Two of films, beginning with Iron Man 3 in May. Of all the new properties Marvel is developing Guardians of the Galaxy is the least well known, so it may have the most difficulty finding an audience when it is released on August 1, 2014, as it won’t have the same established fanbase as many of the other Marvel characters. Of course, that also brings with it a certain amount of freedom and flexibility with the characters since there will be less established history to deal with.