According to the book, The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the authors, Tara Bennett and Paul Terry wrote that Marvel Studios wanted a muscular hulk with good comedic timing to play Drax. During the auditions, the studio did cast a wide net but the professional wrestlers were not being considered at all by the Studios.
Dave Bautista almost didn’t get the role of Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy
As per Dave Bautista, who is also a former WWE wrestler, he had a tough time even getting a meeting. He went on to say, ” At first I thought, ‘Maybe there’s a misunderstanding.’ But no, I was told this, [that pro wrestlers are not being considered]”
But, when the casting director Sarah Finn finally gave him a chance to give an audition, Bautista did initially struggle with Drax’s scenes. He said that “I just couldn’t make heads or tails out of them. I didn’t understand Drax at all.” He went on to add, “I called my acting coach, who is the biggest comic book geek ever, and he flipped out.”
He went on to research about the character at the behest of his acting coach and then Bautista was finally able to figure out how to construct his portrayal of Drax. He said, “There were so many different versions of Drax throughout the years. But there was one artist’s rendering of Drax that just resonated with me for some reason. He looked big and menacing, so I was like, ‘I get that. I know that guy.’ I called my coach back, and then he explained Drax. He found the humor in the dialogue that I didn’t find at all.”
Of course, Bautista did go on to portray Drax in four MCU films, Guardians of the Galaxy, GOTG Vol.2, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. Since he got the role, Dave has been open about his disappointment and frustration in Marvel’s way of “mishandling” Drax the Destroyer. Dave Bautista had said in a past interview that, “I really wished they would have invested more in Drax, personally.”
In May 2021, the actor announced that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will mostly be his last appearance as Drax, though it would not be the last time the character appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Bautista is set to reprise his role as Drax the Destroyer in two more films. The first one will be Thor: Love and Thunder which is directed by Taika Waititi and is set to premiere in the theaters on May 6th, 2022. His final appearance would be in GOTG Vol.3, written and directed by James Gunn which is to be premiered on May 5th, 2023.
The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has comprised over 500 pages and has interviews with cast and crew and executives. The book also revealed that Mark Ruffalo was initially cast as Bruce Banner before Edward Norton took over, and of course, Ruffalo later went on to replace him as Hulk in The Avengers.