Marvel Signs WWE's Dave Bautista for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (Exclusive)

The fighting champion joins Chris Pratt in the sci-fi adventure being directed by James Gunn.
Dave Bautista   |   Jason Kempin/Getty Images
The fighting champion joins Chris Pratt in the sci-fi adventure being directed by James Gunn.

Mixed martial artist and WWE wrestler Dave Bautista has closed his deal to play Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios’ sci-fi adventure movie being directed by James Gunn.

Bautista has been in the mix for the part since late last year, competing with actors such as Isaiah Mustafa, Patrick Wade and Jason Momoa. Momoa was pegged as the man for the gig in February by online geek blogs -- prematurely, it turns out.

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Bautista now becomes the second actor after Chris Pratt to join the project, which has ties to The Avengers and will connect to other Marvel movies.

Galaxy centers on Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Pratt), a U.S. pilot who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants, according to the plot description.

Drax is a human resurrected as a green warrior for the sole purpose of killing Thanos (the villain in the final-scene tease of Avengers). His powers include flight, super-strength and energy blasts.

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The movie’s lineup will also include Groot, a giant tree-man; Star-Lord, a gun-toting half-human/half-alien intergalactic vigilante; Rocket Raccoon, a genetically engineered animal with a knack for guns and explosives; and Gamora, the last survivor of her species, who was saved by Thanos to be his assassin but now battles him.

While Bautista has been wrestling for more than a decade, it’s only in the last couple of years that he’s been pile-driving his way into acting. Last year, he appeared in The Man With the Iron Fists playing a villain named Brass Body, and he will be seen squaring off against Vin Diesel in Riddick, which opens Sept. 6.

Bautista is repped by Gersh and Jonathan Meisner Management.