In light of Disney cutting ties with writer and director James Gunn, Dave Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer in the monolithic Marvel Cinematic Universe, has stood by Gunn’s side on social media. It will leave a Drax-shaped hole in the hearts of millions if he makes good on his threat to step away if Marvel shelves Gunn’s script. And that hole needs to be filled. We hope it never comes to this, but we’re ready with our own thoughts on just who might be able to replace Bautista as Drax the Destroyer.
Who Could Replace Bautista as Drax the Destroyer?: John Cena
Turn away now if you think this list isn’t going to feature some of the finest wrestler-turned-actor types as a viable replacement for Bautista — who himself is one of the best examples of a WWE star making it big in Hollywood.
John Cena may look more rectangular than Bautista’s rounder figure, but he’s packing similar qualifications. He’s a veteran of the wrestling scene nine years Bautista’s junior, yet certainly isn’t a small fellow by any stretch of the imagination. Cena’s acting career may not have exploded quite so well as Bautista — who managed to score roles not only in Guardians of the Galaxy, but in the James Bond and Blade Runner franchises soon after — but he’s proven himself to be a likable figure over the years with plenty of memes to back him up.
Cena has shown his comedic chops in films like Trainwreck, Daddy’s Home, and, yes, Fred the Movie. When Drax the Destroyer isn’t causing havoc and butting heads with Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord, he’s making us laugh with his airhead personality in scenes like what inspired this wonderful mock-up poster. Drax is a brute, but he wears his heart on his sleeve, and we can see Cena doing the part justice should the worst happen.
Who Could Replace Bautista as Drax the Destroyer?: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
When we told you to expect WWE stars who made it big on the silver screen, you should have known this one coming. The Rock has graced our televisions more times than we can remember at this point, but his balance between action and comedy easily earns him a place on this list.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been a part of our lives for so long that he has a completely separate page on Wikipedia to list the roles he’s played over the years. Winning a Teen Choice Award for his role as The Scorpion King in 2001’s The Mummy Returns put The Rock on the map in record time.
Since then, he stuck to his family friendly image with movies like Be Cool in 2005 and last year’s reboot of Jumanji. He’s basically everyone’s dad with plenty of silliness and charm, which oozes out of Drax as a character. The Rock’s muscular build and bald head would suit the role perfectly.
Who Could Replace Bautista as Drax the Destroyer?: Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel already plays Groot, one of Guardians of the Galaxy’s most recognizable roles, but it’s how he came into the role that could point towards an easy pivot to a second.
The massive movie star was drafted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe through fan request. He was initially brought into a meeting with plans to debut in Phase Three. However, scheduling conflicts and the huge response to the news at Comic-Con meant Vin was fast-tracked into Phase Two of the Marvel movie series after being swooned by Guardians of the Galaxy concept art. We might never know who Vin was destined to play in Phase Three, but he’ll forever be our Groot.
When Vin isn’t channeling his inner Andy Serkis in the voice and mo-cap booth for the immensely powerful and moody tree creature, he’s off driving cars for that other popular movie franchise. Why not get him on set for another role while he’s in the GotG mood? He’s already busting heads as a tree, and we’d love to see him do the same in his own skin. After all, who’s better to act alongside Groot than Groot himself?
Vin Diesel seemingly prefers to make a name for himself as a staple of Hollywood action flicks rather than that of a comedy genius by spearheading the Fast and Furious franchise from the early 2000’s into the household name it is today. While he may have echoed The Rock’s Tooth Fairy by starring in 2005’s family comedy snoozefest The Pacifier, Vin has shied away from repeating the mistakes of his past. Could Drax be a nice in-between point of action and comedy? We think so.
Guardians of the Galaxy really wouldn’t be the same without Dave Bautista’s Drax charging into fights he can’t win. It’s a void we hope never needs to be filled, but it’s easy to understand where he’s coming from. Despite roles in James Bond and a long overdue Blade Runner sequel, Bautista’s popularity exploded when he joined Disney and Marvel Studios — and he’s right to credit that to Gunn. Nobody will be able to replicate the tonal shift Drax commands in a scene, but then again, we can’t expect Guardians of the Galaxy to be the same without Gunn, either.