Dave Bautista Says Drax's Story Ends 'The Perfect Way' In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3

In case you missed the memo, Dave Bautista is leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe behind him. Over the years since 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy" catapulted his movie career to the next level, the world's greatest wrestler turned actor (with John Cena coming in second) has proven his dedication to the craft, collaborating with the likes of Denis Villeneuve, Sam Mendes, and Rian Johnson while also lending his talents to smaller, off-kilter projects ("Hotel Artemis") and even international genre films ("Master Z: Ip Man Legacy"). Suffice it to say, Bautista is the real deal, and he's here to stay.

With Bautista now collecting accolades for his performance in M. Night Shyamalan's "Knock at the Cabin" (which Chris Evangelista reviewed for /Film), he's already started 2023 off on the right foot. What's more, his dramatic turn in Shyamalan's thriller stands in sharp contrast to his broadly comedic work as Drax the Destroyer in "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" and as the Joe Rogan-styled men's rights clown car Duke Cody in "Glass Onion" from late last year. Even better, the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will close out the MCU's original "Guardians" saga, giving Bautista a chance to put his full skill set to work in his final appearance as everyone's favorite metaphor-fumbling a-hole.

Yet, despite how often Bautista has insisted he's done playing Drax, people keep asking him if he's not. "Yeah, it's weird. I don't know why it's news," said Bautista, speaking during a visit to "The Tonight Show" (via Variety). "This is my seventh film as Drax. And my third 'Guardians' [film]. It was like our trilogy. That's kind of what we all signed up for, to do a trilogy. And I think this will be the last version of our 'Guardians of the Galaxy.'"

'I ended it on a storybook note'

True endings and permanent deaths have always been rare in the MCU, and the introduction of the multiverse in Phase 4 has only further compounded that issue. In refreshing contrast to that, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" looks to offer an actual conclusion to James Gunn's iteration of the "Guardians" — and if Gunn's track record is any indicator, he will absolutely deliver on that guarantee (and all the tears and heartbreak that comes along with it). It's why Dave Bautista has already gone ahead and thrown down the gauntlet, swearing he will never play Drax again and risk ruining the "perfect exit" Gunn crafted for him:

"We all had those perfect character arcs and such a storybook ending. I constantly relate it to the way I ended my wrestling career. I ended it on a storybook note. And I would never go back and tarnish that. And it's the same with this. With Drax, I just got to end the perfect way. And I would never sign up for another job as Drax just to get a paycheck. I would tarnish that [perfect ending], and I won't do it."

By now, superhero movie actors know to never say never when it comes to reprising their fan-favorite Marvel and DC counterparts, regardless of the way they left things in their last time at bat. But in Bautista's case, I'm inclined to believe him. He seems genuinely committed to putting his money where his mouth is, even when that means giving up on a project he was personally campaigning for just because it doesn't feel right to him, creatively. As I said earlier, he's the real deal.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will open in theaters on May 5, 2023.