Dave Bautista has been the most outspoken member of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast in the wake of James Gunn’s abrupt firing last month. The writer-director was released from the project after a series of old, problematic tweets resurfaced online. Despite the cast’s public statement of support for Gunn, Disney (which owns Marvel Studios) has yet to respond.
Still, the former wrestler has been Gunn’s most ardent supporter. In the hours following his termination, Bautista tweeted that he was “not OK” with Disney’s decision. Now, in response to a tweet asking what he’ll do should Disney decline to rehire Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Bautista said he’ll return to the franchise as Drax because he’s “legally obligated” to but called working for the studio “nauseating.”
“[Guardians] without [James Gunn] is not what I signed up for,” he tweeted. “Its also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis. That’s just how I feel.”
Though Bautista is Gunn’s most vocal defender, the rest of the Guardians cast have also showed their support for him in recent weeks. Chris Pratt said he’d “personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3,” while Saldana confirmed the entire cast’s desire to get Gunn back on board. A fan-made petition to get him rehired has also surpassed 368,000 signatures as of press time.
Meanwhile, Gunn’s brother, Sean Gunn, who appears in the franchise as both Kraglin and the physical stand-in for Rocket Raccoon, advocated on behalf of the redemptive spirit of the franchise. “My hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the Guardians movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jackass, but because of it,” he tweeted. “They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self. Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I’m proud of that.”
It goes without saying that this entire situation is unprecedented. Bautista’s continued (and very public) defiance against the most powerful entertainment company in the world — and his employer — is a major flex, but Disney’s silence is deafening. The studio has not released any updates on the status of the third film since severing ties with Gunn, despite the fact that he had submitted a finished draft of the Volume 3 script before his termination.
As for the actors, well, in the words of Bautista, they’re legally obligated to return. Whether they want to take another spin in the Milano without Gunn is another story.