James Gunn Explains Why Drax’s Backstory Changed in Guardians of the Galaxy

Posted 2022/04/22 11 0

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As a bone of contention, the backstory of the MCU’s Drax is one that has been around forever, James Gunn has now elaborated a little on the matter.

Of all the characters in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, one that has often caused quite a bit of discussion when it comes to backstory is Drax the Destroyer. Played by Dave Bautista, Drax has been the subject of many online debates due to his history from the comics not being adapted into the movies, and at one point it seemed that Bautista himself was not especially happy with the way Drax’s deep history had been overlooked. However, in a recent Twitter post responding to a fan questions, director James Gunn has explained a little of why Drax’s full backstory was not used in the Guardians of the Galaxy films.

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While Drax will appear in the soon-to-be-released Thor: Love and Thunder, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 next year, Bautista has made it apparent that he is likely to be one of the characters departing the franchise after that point. Occasionally, he has cited his age as the reason for wanting to leave the role behind, and at other times has just not been happy with the way the character has had no meaningful backstory in the franchise.

In relation to that point, in his Twitter post, James Gunn addressed why Drax did not start out as a human like his comic book counterpart. It seems that in the grand scheme of things, it just didn’t work for the movie to include that much history in the first Guardians of the Galaxy outing. Asked to explain why Drax did not start out as Arthur Douglas as per the comics, Gunn replied:


“I didn’t want to make a space opera with a dozen earthlings who just coincidentally found themselves in space. How could I even explain that in the 1st 20 minutes of a movie? I wanted a group of aliens & orphans from different planets who banded together.”

Drax History in the Comics Is Much More Tragic and Darker Than the MCU

While Drax brings a lot of comedy to the MCU, through a series of mis-observations and one-liners, his comic book alternative has a much more serious tone and a dark backstory. While the movies have touched briefly on Drax wanting to kill Thanos for the death of his family, in the comics Drax was originally human, a saxophone-playing estate agent to be precise, but following the death of his family at the hands of Thanos his soul is taken and put into a new superpowered body and he becomes Drax the Destroyer, character with the ability to fly and project blasts of energy from his bare hands. Not exactly the same as his movie counterpart.

With so much difference in story, it is not hard to understand why some die hard comic book fans were not particularly impressed with the dumbed down version of Drax that has appeared on-screen. However, when it comes to movies like the MCU, there are some stories that are told and others that are not depending on how well they fit in with a fast-paced evolving narrative. When it comes to a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy, with so many new characters to introduce, it is obvious that some deeper level of character can be lost, otherwise, as Gunn said, the whole thing would become a space opera, and we already have one of those.


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