James Gunn Says There Could Still Be a Drax and Mantis Movie and Fans Don’t Know How to Feel

Hollywood has been making spin-off movies for decades, with one of the most recent examples, Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw, being quite a big hit. But that had Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in it. Would a movie led by Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff pull in moviegoers? 

We might find out if James Gunn has his way. A guy kooky enough to think a movie about a talking tree and a raccoon would work just might be onto something. 

The Guardians of the Galaxy traffic in weirdness

James Gunn on the red carpet
James Gunn | Christopher Polk/Getty Images

When Marvel first issued the trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy back in 2014, a lot of Marvel fans didn’t know what to make of it. What’s with this team that has a green-skinned woman, a surfer dude type with a weird space helmet, a hulk of a man in full-body makeup  and a tree that only says “I am Groot?”

It was unlike anything Marvel had ever made, and some people thought this seemed too out of left field. 

But like most everything Marvel touches, Guardians turned into a beloved hit, grossing more than $300 million at the box office. That’s low compared to an Avengers movie, but it’s great for a movie with ideas as bizarre as this. Yet that very strangeness was part of the appeal. This was the Marvel movie with the strongest comic elements, and people ate it up. 

Such was the success of the movie that its soundtrack of classic rock hits became a character in its own right, with the album even reviving the long-dormant cassette format. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in 2017 was an even bigger hit, making close to $400 million. So the question is, why not make a Mantis and Drax movie?

James Gunn wants to try the spinoff

The reason not to make the spinoff is that the success of Guardians depends on the interactions of the entire team. And even in the most flattering light, Drax and Mantis are still side characters, however funny they may be. If people wanted a spinoff movie, one with Star-Lord or with Rocket and Groot might seem like a better idea than Mantis and Drax. 

Still, Bautista, who plays Drax, says Gunn has run the spin-off by him, according to Screen Rant. Bautista said, “What I would like to do is honestly, and this is not my idea, I’m stealing this idea, but James Gunn had the idea to do a Drax/Mantis movie. And that’s what I would be up for, because there’s just too much fun there.”

Gunn himself said the idea has never been ruled out, and he probably feels inclined to do Bautista a favor, since Bautista was one of Gunn’s biggest boosters during the time that Gunn was temporarily taken off Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Whatever the case, that film will surely get made first, probably appearing sometime in 2022 or 2023. 

Spin-offs are often successful

These days, when every other movie Hollywood makes is some kind of sequel, remake or reboot, a spinoff might seem like a lame idea, but spin-off movies actually have a strong track record at the box office, the most recent example being the aforementioned Hobbs and Shaw. It didn’t make Fast and Furious-level money, but it was a strong hit worldwide, making $760 million. 

Another recent example is Bumblebee. For a while, the Transformers series seemed to be running out of gas, with the fifth movie The Last Knight making a relatively puny $602 million worldwide, the lowest grosser of all the movies. While 2018’s Bumblebee made $465 million worldwide, that was still considered a better than expected return for a spinoff. 

So will Drax and Mantis have their moment on center stage? It’s hard to guess, but stranger things have certainly happened. At the very least, it could be a fun dare of a movie.