The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy is united in its support of director James Gunn, who was fired last month after offensive tweets dating back to 2009 resurfaced online. Last week, the entire cast signed an open letter expressing their admiration for Gunn. Now, in a tweet posted Sunday, Dave Bautista doubled down in his support of Gunn while also attacking Disney for “empower[ing] a smear campaign by fascists.”
Responding to a fan tweet, Bautista said he would reprising his role of Drax the Destroyer in Vol. 3 because “I’m legally obligated to,” but he added, “Guardians without James Gunn is not what I signed up for. GOTG w/o James Gunn just isn’t GOTG.”
Bautista then went after Disney for bowing to pressure to fire Gunn after conservative critics dug up offensive tweets posted by the director almost a decade prior. “It’s also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis,” Bautista wrote.
Update – August 6th: Speaking to ShortList, Bautista threatened to quit Guardians Vol. 3 if Disney were to move forward with a script other than the one written by Gunn. “Where I’m at right now is that if [Disney/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,” he said. “I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t.”
Meanwhile, Kurt Russell, who played Ego in Vol. 2, discussed Gunn’s firing in a new interview with Variety. Russell called the situation “sad, but it’s a part of our fabric now and I get it,” adding: “But I do think we’re getting a little too sensitive on maybe some of the wrong people.”
“You have to realize that when you are in that world as a comedian, a writer, whatever you’re always stretching the boundaries and trying to find something which lead him to something that the world loves, which is ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’” Russell continued. “He has a wonderful heart and a wonderful mind. I hope he is forgiven.”
Disney has yet to say who will direct Vol. 3, but Variety reports it’s unlikely they’ll rehire Gunn.