Back in 2018, things got pretty dramatic between Disney and James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Gunn was fired over inappropriate tweets he had written a decade earlier. The decision caused quite an uproar, and all of the Guardians cast members came to his defense. In fact, about six months later, Disney rehired Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and the movie is now expected to be released in 2023. One of the people who were quick to jump to Gunn's defense was Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in the MCU. Recently, the wrestler-turned-actor spoke with Collider and opened up about the firing, calling it an "attack" against Gunn.
"At the time, it was awful … I got beat up and I got bashed and I got threatened. I was in a bad spot with Disney as well, but I just felt like I was doing the right thing. I felt like a friend — a guy who really went out on a limb for me and kind of changed my life — was being unfairly attacked," Bautista explained. "He was unfairly attacked and then he was unfairly punished. I just couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t say anything, but at the time it was awful. It was awful. I literally stayed on social media at that time even though I was just getting bashed and beaten up, I stayed on it because I knew if nobody was speaking up for him, there was just no chance. This was part of the political climate, things that were going on. It was just like even much bigger than James, this was like a big message they were sending. This was a personal, political attack on James Gunn."
He continued, "Disney, I think they jumped the gun, they made a rash decision, they made a mistake. I think, eventually, they really did the right thing which was another huge statement. For Disney to go back and say, 'Hey guys, we made a mistake, we’re hiring James back,' that in and of itself is a huge statement, so I don’t want to overlook that at all. They really put themselves out on a limb, which they didn’t need to do. Because they could have moved on and just gone on without [Gunn] and the next Guardians still would have made a butt load of money and people would have come out to see it because they’re so invested in it, but they didn’t. They did the right thing, they said, 'Hey guys, we made a mistake.' And that in itself is a message. But there was no way in hell that I was just going to leave James hanging out there to fight for himself and defend himself for something that he wasn’t guilty of. It was just a designed attack by horrible people, horrible people, and there’s just no way I was gonna sit there and do nothing about it, say nothing about it. It made me feel good to see that so many big outlets were coming out and saying, 'This is not right, this is not okay, and we can’t let these guys get away with it because if they get away with this, this is gonna continue to happen and it’s gonna get worse. It’s gonna snowball and get bigger and bigger.' So a lot of people really stepped up to the plate and stood up for James, which needed to happen because he needed help."
"So thankfully they hired him back and because he was already on Suicide Squad, things got rearranged and Guardians got pushed, but it’s a done deal, man, we’re making it. We’re making that film, we’re going into it later this year. It’s signed, sealed, and delivered to do it, and I’m excited about it. We’ll wrap up this story," Bautista concluded.
Gunn and Bautista's friendship continues despite the latter leaving The Suicide Squad to make Army of the Dead with Zack Snyder. In fact, they recently had a fun back-and-forth when Bautista called Gunn a "control freak" in an interview.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is scheduled for release on May 5, 2023.