James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will be the final adventure for the eponymous cosmic team — but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the end of the line for the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For all the hype surrounding the trilogy's final entrant, there's also cause for concern among MCU fans. With Gunn currently serving as the co-head of DC Studios, it's safe to assume his time playing in the MCU sandbox is drawing to a close for now. But again, what of the Guardians themselves? Will they return to cross paths with other Marvel superheroes in the future? For that matter, will we even see them again in the MCU?
Amid speculation that "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" might mark the death of a beloved character (or characters), at least we're guaranteed one more adventure with Dave Bautista's Drax the Destroyer. The wrestler-turned-actor's light-hearted portrayal of the character in the MCU has transformed one of Marvel Comics' most serious cosmic superheroes into one of its funniest ones. And while Bautista's days playing Drax are definitely numbered, there's a younger actor who would be more than happy to tackle the role once he's done (should the opportunity present itself).
Brett Azar Would Like To Join The MCU
Dave Bautista has already indicated that his days of playing Drax the Destroyer are numbered. "Drax isn't going anywhere. He just won't be played by this dude!" he posted on Twitter in May 2021. "[By] the time ['Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'] comes out I'll be 54 yrs old for [God's] sake! [I'm] expecting everything to start sagging any second now."
Speaking to Inverse in June 2021, comic book artist Jim Starlin — the visionary behind Marvel Comics characters like Thanos, Shang-Chi, Gamora, and Drax the Destroyer — commented on Bautista's reluctance to continue playing Drax, stating, "I can understand hitting 54 and not wanting to take your shirt off anymore." Among those who responded to Starlin's comments on Twitter were "Young Rock" star Brett Azar (who plays the Iron Sheik), who playfully (if also, one presumes, sincerely) replied, "I'm right here."
Azar certainly has the physicality and the comedic timing as Drax and could be the perfect replacement for Bautista in the role, should Marvel Studios be on the hunt for a new Drax actor post-"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." Drax is, after all, the "Guardians" franchise's true comedic star — a hulking brute who lost his family and doesn't understand metaphors or idioms yet employs physical humor in the most extraordinary way imaginable.
'There May Be Another Drax'
Jim Starlin also echoed Dave Bautista's sentiments in his interview with Inverse, adding that he suspects the MCU will simply recast Drax at some point in the future:
"The Marvel [Cinematic] Universe is going to keep trucking along and they found that they have made money on cosmic stuff … There may be another Drax down the line; somebody else who hopefully has half the comedic timing of Bautista."
When /Film's own Jacob Hall interviewed Bautista in May 2021, the actor was fully onboard with Drax being recast after he's done:
"But you know what I really wish for? I really hope that going forward they will reboot Drax, and I think 'Drax the Destroyer' could be a standalone film. I think it could be something new and something different. Drax has such a great story, and I think time would have to go by and people would have to be willing to accept a new story, a new character, a new Drax the Destroyer. But I hope someday that they just recast it and reboot just Drax the Destroyer and focus on that story, because it's a great story…"
Could Brett Azar be the man for the job? Marvel Studios should certainly consider reaching out to him!
"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" opens in theaters on May 5, 2023.
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