This is a bit of a surprise, but also likely a good choice. We knew that Marvel Studios was testing many actors to play the big hero Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. The last name that came up was Jason Momoa, as Marvel reportedly really liked the actor for the role. But he didn’t want it on Marvel’s terms, and so the studio moved on to new candidates.

One person who has been considered for a while, going back to the early test reports, is wrestling star Dave Bautista. He’s now taking the role. 

THR says that Bautista closed his deal, and describes Drax in terms that will be familiar to Marvel fans:

Drax is a human resurrected as a green warrior with the sole purpose of killing Thanos (the villain in the final-scene tease of Avengers). His powers include flight, super-strength and energy blasts.

Bautista plays the muscle of the film, while Chris Pratt plays the real lead, Star-Lord.

Other characters in James Gunn‘s film include the giant tree-man Groot, Rocket Raccoon, “a genetically engineered animal with a knack for guns and explosives,” and a female alien named Gamora, “the last survivor of her species who was saved by Thanos to be his assassin but now battles him.” Those last three characters are not yet cast.

Guardians of the Galaxy is scheduled for release on August 1, 2014.

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