A couple of months after saying he would like to play Bane in a DC movie, Guardians of the Galaxy and Stuber star Dave Bautista recently claimed that Marvel/Disney seemingly sees no value in a solo movie featuring either him, or Drax, or both, and that he would absolutely be interested in looking into what's available on the other side of the comic book fence. While it was likely an offhand comment, it's the kind of thing that immediately gets fans thinking -- and since we're fans, too, we sat down a kicked around a handful of ideas for what Bautista could play.
"Point is I freaking love comic book characters and I want a stand alone," Bautista wrote on Twitter. "@MarvelStudios doesn’t see worth in #drax or possibly myself or both but I’m not giving up. I missed out on a DC project because of scheduling conflicts but hopefully, there’s other characters & opportunities"
It seems Bautista is all for a Drax solo film, but even if that doesn't happen he isn't done with comic book characters by a longshot, as he also addressed the possibility of doing a DC project. He mentions that he missed out on a DC project due to scheduling conflicts, but he doesn't say what that project was.
It was likely The Suicide Squad, from his Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. At one point, Bautista was reported to be up for a role in that movie, and later reports suggested that it was scheduling and not interest that ruled him out.
So if we were going to give Bautista a DC solo movie, what would it be? We've got a few ideas...!
If there's one thing Bautista has done remarkably well in his career, it's be large, loud, intimidating and sometimes volatile. It's a defining trait of nearly every character he has ever played, and certainly it's baked into the DNA of a lot of great Hawkman stories, where he was often the conservative firebrand offsetting Oliver Queen's liberal one.
Given the popularity of Hawkman as a character and its name recognition among non-readers, it wouldn't be too surprising to see them try to adapt the property to film -- especially when you consider that Geoff Johns, who has a long and beloved run on Hawkman, worked on the scripts of Wonder Woman and Shazam!, both of which worked out pretty well for the studio.
One big drawback: after a career of waxing, Bautista would have to let some chest hair grow in.
For a guy who has a long history of working shirtless, the barbarian-chic look of Travis Morgan, Warlord would be no sweat for Bautista. We can see him doing well with a revolver and a sword, although it's hard to picture Dave with that helmet. But then, how often do Marvel superheroes wear their masks? Maybe this Warlord will be a little more He-Man than usual.
This would also give him a chance to try out a bit more of the emotional side that James Gunn has allowed him to flex from time to time as Drax but that is not a regular part of his "image," since Morgan has what amounts to an adoptive family in Skartaris.
At one point, it was rumored that Bautista was being considered to play Peacemaker in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, which would make him a pretty obvious choice to play The Comedian, a character who was directly inspired by Peacemaker when Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons put together Watchmen, which centered around a group of antiheroes, each of whom was a pastiche of one of a number of Charlton Comics characters that were then-recently acquired by DC.
Whether The Comedian could support his own story outside of the framework of Watchmen is anybody's guess, but given the popularity of the comic, which remains one of DC's best-selling collected editions of all time, one assumes that they would not be too averse to it if the HBO series were to take off next year and revitalize the brand among casual audience members.
Give the man an antihero role, and he could probably kill it. Given the phonetic similarity to Batman, the odds of this one being greenlit are probably pretty small unless it's played largely for comedy, but it's the kind of character who could absolutely work if the right script came along and somebody at the studio "got" it.
A broad-shouldered, stubbly former villain with a heart of (tarnished) gold is a pretty solid role for Bautista. And, hey, if this were to be something that could build to a Secret Six kind of movie? All the better.
...the problem is that he's Frankenstein, and we have had a series of really bad (and poor-performing) movies featuring Frankenstein, Robin Hood, etc., lately, which might make "superhero reinvention of Frankenstein" something that would be hard to sell in Hollywood.
But the super-science and spy elements intrinsic to the New 52 version would make it a hell of a script if somebody wanted to try.
We're still hoping that the Lobo series from Krypton producer Cameron Welsh will go forward somewhere else after being cancelled at Syfy, but if it doesn't, Lobo feels like a really obvious way to go with Bautista.
If Drax were crazier, meaner, tougher, and more marketable as a solo character? Well, that's Lobo. Basically exactly. And Bautista would absolutely kill it.
This is a straightforward superhero thing that basically can meld elements of Batman movies and wrestling. He's got superhuman strength, speed, and durability -- but only for an hour at a time. That weakness has comedy baked into it, and the whole thing could be wild and over the top and fun in a way that basically only Shazam! has really done in the DCU.
Of course, that character is set to show up on Stargirl soon, so it may be off the shelf. Let us, then, make another argument for the Android Hourman. A lifelike robot from the future could provide a lot of the same simple misunderstandings and other similar humor that Drax already does, and -- like in Stuber -- they could pair him up with a nerdy sidekick who could bounce off of Bautista in the role of Snapper Carr.
This one would be a long shot, but it would work in one specific way: if both Eternals and The New Gods are hits -- or if one is such a spectacular hit that the other one's failure isn't as much of a threat -- you could see DC plumbing its depths for the other weird, wild Kirby stuff that they own and trying to get as much out of it as they could. That would track with Marvel, who are reportedly already mulling a reboot of the Inhumans franchise to wash the taste of the TV series out of the collective mouths and minds of the audience.
Meanwhile, this feels a bit like the role that Bautista played (for a couple of minutes) in the latest Blade Runner film, and could allow him to do the same kind of emoting from an arm's length thing that he does a lot of the time in the Guardians movies while also being an action star.
The recently-cancelled title from DC's New Age of Heroes line, which was spawned out of the events of Dark Nights: Metal, would give Bautista the opportunity to be bascially one half of a superhero, but he'd be the one doing the -- ahem -- smashing. Yeah, it would be an odd throwback of a choice to have the transforming superhero be done by an actor in makeup instead of the original performer in motion capture, but that would likely be exciting for a lot of fans, and really, who wouldn't love to see Bautista as a somewhat more articulate, insanely powerful and semi-deranged verison of The Hulk?
Besides, the whole "two actors" thing worked fine for Shazam!.
One of the big challenges in making a list like this is limiting it to characters who would be likely to get their story picked up for the big screen. Some of the names on this list are more likely than others, for a number of reasons, but Blackhawk -- actually the name of a squadron of pilots, but likely to be a story that has a single point-of-view character in charge of the team -- has the benefit of already having been tapped -- by Steven Spielberg of all people.
There is no word on how Blackhawk has or has not progressed since it was originally announced, but it seems likely that Warner Bros., stung by the failure of Justice League, is playing things fairly slow and safe. Some of the lower-budget movies already reported to be in the offing for DC might be more likely to come to pass when and if Joker is a big commercial success.
In any event, the titular Blackhawk, a mysterious man who oversees the Blackhawk Squadron, would be a fun role for Bautista. In the comics, Blackhawk is rarely depicted as having the physical presence that Bautista does, but on the other hand, he is a military man and it is not unbelievable that he would be pretty well-built.