Loyalty is a great thing. Whether in dealing with the annoying clique at high school, a Browns fan or a moderately big time Hollywood actor. Dave Bautista has gone above and beyond in his support for ousted Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.
As soon as Walt Disney made the decision to fire the director over controversial tweets from as recently as six years ago, Bautista put himself on the front line rallying for his friend. His statements have gotten progressively more intense about his feelings for Gunn and Disney for bending to ‘cyber Nazi attacks.’ Earlier, Bautista said he would fulfill his existing contract like a professional. Then he changed up somewhat saying he wouldn’t want to work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 if the script Gunn wrote wasn’t used.
During an appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show this weekend, Bautista doubled down on his feelings.
It’s a bittersweet conversation…uhm, no it’s a bitter-bitter conversation because I’m not really happy with what they’ve done with James Gunn. They’re putting the movie off. It’s on hold indefinitely. To be honest with you I don’t know if I want to work for Disney.
That statement for an actor is about as close to saying I don’t want to get paid for my work as possible. Outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bautista has starred in some middling level films. Sure, he’s had some minor success in cameos in Spectre and Blade Runner 2049, but nowhere near the paydays and fanfare as his MCU work.
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Gunn is a done deal and Disney has moved on to the challenging task of finding his replacement. But Gunn can still do some good for the Guardians franchise by helping Bautista from irrevocably damaging his Disney relationship. For Bautista, his Drax the Destroyer character is a popular component of the franchise. But in an ever changing comic book movie universe, Drax could just as easily be written out of the MCU altogether if Bautista remains so vocal against Disney.
With Guardians Vol. 3 on hiatus, Disney execs are probably still at the point of appreciating Bautista’s loyalty, but are growing weary. Gunn ought to take this time to talk to Bautista, thank him for his loyalty, but remind him that his career isn’t worth losing over any director. It’s easy to think Gunn is overwhelmed by Bautista’s support, but even his brother, Sean Gunn, hasn’t discussed ending his Disney relationship over him.
This is another case where Marvel executive producer Kevin Feige is going to have to work some magic to smooth over the hurt feelings on both parts. Given enough time and care, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 can avoid being a trainwreck without Gunn’s influence, but losing Bautista over Gunn’s firing could be an unrecoverable blow to one of the MCU’s most consistent and adored franchises.
What do you think? Does Bautista need to dial back some of his righteous Disney anger? Or does Gunn need to do his pal a favor and stop him from prematurely ending his career?