‘Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista Says Marvel Didn’t Invite Him Back for ‘What If…?’

Marvel’s What If…? will explore alternate versions of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, giving the franchise’s characters new backstories and adventures on the small screen. This taste of the multiverse may upend everything fans know about their favorite heroes, but it features many of the voice actors from the live-action films. Of course, a few of them are noticeably missing from the Disney+ show’s cast. That includes Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista. Apparently, that’s because he wasn’t invited back for the animated series.

Who does Dave Bautista play in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’?

Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista wearing a navy shirt unbuttoned at the top and orange-tinted sunglasses.
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ star Dave Bautista | Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage

In the MCU, Bautista portrays Drax the Destroyer, an essential member of the Guardians of the Galaxy — even if he initially got off on the wrong foot with most his teammates. The first Guardians of the Galaxy inroduces Drax as a ruthless killer who seeks vengeance against Thanos for killing his family. Of course, as the film continues, it becomes clear he’s not always so menacing.

In fact, once he builds a bond with the film’s other leads, Drax proves a loyal companion. He’s also responsible for many of the movie’s best one-liners, bringing plenty of comic relief to the franchise. Bautista quickly became a Marvel favorite for his take on Drax, which is why his exclusion from What If…? is so disappointing.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ star Dave Bautista wasn’t asked back for Marvel’s ‘What If…?’

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The trailers for Marvel’s What If…? tease the return of the Guardians of the Galaxy, albeit with a different Star-Lord than the ones fans are used to. Drax makes an appearance a couple of times in the promotional footage, but viewers will notice the voice behind the character isn’t Bautista’s.

When a fan tweeted the actor and asked why he isn’t voicing his character, he responded with a surprising admission: Marvel didn’t invite him to.

“Let’s start with I was never asked,” Bautista wrote on Twitter.

For anyone who’d assumed Bautista was simply busy working on other projects, the news came as a shock. Even Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was taken aback by Bautista’s statement. He responded to it with a tweet of his own, saying simply, “What.”

Bautista recently teased that his time in the MCU might be nearing its end, and he was vocal in his support of Gunn when Disney fired him back in 2018 (a decision the company later went back on). Still, Bautista is slated to appear in at least two more of the franchise’s projects. With his ongoing relationship with Marvel, one would think he’d be considered for the animated series.

‘What If…?’ boss says it was difficult rounding up all the Marvel stars

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Marvel has yet to respond to Bautista’s tweet, but What If…? director Bryan Andrews recently discussed the show’s casting with Uproxx. During the interview, he likened rounding up all the Marvel stars to “herding cats,” suggesting the creators had a hard time getting everyone onboard:

“All of these people are extremely talented and they’ve got a lot of stuff going on. And we figured we probably wouldn’t be able to get everybody, just because scheduling is so difficult. But we got a lot, and that was great. So yeah, it’d be awesome to have everybody, but you’ve got to deal with what you’ve got to deal with. And if someone’s too busy and they can’t make it, it’s a bummer. We pivot and we get someone in that can rally and play to the spirit of that character. Not necessarily do ‘an impression,’ but at least try to embody that and then make it a little bit their own, but hopefully not bug the audience too much.”

Bautista isn’t the only actor not appearing in What If…?, though he’s the first to address his absence. Fellow Guardians of the Galaxy co-stars Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana aren’t confirmed for the series either. Pratt’s absence, at least, can be explained by Star-Lord’s character change. With T’Challa as the new Star-Lord, Chadwick Boseman provided the voice of the hero — a performance that will mark the late actor’s last outing in the MCU.

Other Marvel stars missing from the cast include Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Tom Holland. The first three seem content to move on from the MCU, and Holland’s absence could be due to scheduling or his Sony deal. Whatever the reasons behind What If…?‘s casting choices, fans will have to get used to new talent coming in.

As for Bautista, those hoping to catch him as Drax again still have Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special to look forward to.