"Where I'm at right now is that if [Marvel] don't use that script, then I'm going to ask them to release me from my contract, cut me out or recast me," Bautista told Shortlist. "I'd be doing James a disservice if I didn't."
"Nobody's defending his tweets, but this was a smear campaign on a good man," Bautista explained. "I spoke to Chris Pratt the day after it happened and he's a bit religious so he wanted time to pray and figure it out, but I was more like: f-ck this. This is bullsh-t. James is one of the kindest, most decent people I've met."
Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said in June the writer-director had delivered a draft and pre-production on the threequel would be underway "very, very soon" for an early 2019 shooting start.
The Drax actor has passionately defended Gunn on social media in the wake of his firing by Disney, previously saying he will do what he's "legally obligated" to do for a third Guardians movie, "but [Guardians of the Galaxy] without [James Gunn] is not what I signed up for."
Bautista has been highly critical of Marvel Studios parent Disney on social media, adding it is "pretty nauseating to work for someone who'd empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis."
Gunn's friend, comedian and filmmaker Bob Goldthwait said on The Late Show that Gunn was "attacked" on social media because he's "very outspoken" against President Donald Trump and his administration. Goldthwait similarly criticized Disney for taking their lead "from a few crackpots that are right-wing extremist trolls" and for taking cues from what he called a "fringe group of lunatics."
Gunn was swiftly fired by Disney Studios chief Alan Horn after offensive past tweets resurfaced, which made light of pedophilia, rape and other abuses. The tweets were pulled from between 2008 and 2012, ceasing around the time Gunn was hired by Marvel Studios to helm the then-unproven Guardians franchise.
He has since apologized for the tweets.
The entire Guardians of the Galaxy cast — Bautista, Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn — issued a joint statement last week declaring their support for Gunn.
Speaking to Buzzfeed last May ahead of the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Gunn said working on the franchise forced him "into a much deeper way of thinking about... my relationship to people."
"I was a very nasty guy on Twitter. It was a lot of f—ing edgy, in-your-face, dirty stuff. I suddenly was working for Marvel and Disney, and that didn't seem like something I could do anymore," Gunn said, explaining his time on the franchise made him more "sensitive" and "positive."
"I mean, I really do love people. And by not having jokes to make about whatever was that offensive topic of the week, that forced me into just being who I really was, which was a pretty positive person," Gunn said. "It felt like a relief."
Bautista next returns as Drax in Avengers 4, out May 3, 2019.