The Drax actor suggests "storylines have changed" in the Marvel sequel
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Dave Bautista, 2014. /©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy
Credit: Everett Collection

All those production delays may have had an impact on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Star Dave Bautista (who plays Drax the Destroyer in the hit Marvel franchise), tells EW that there's been some shifting in the long-awaited sequel's storylines since writer-director James Gunn wrote his original draft.

"I believe it's okay to say that we will go into production late next year," Bautista says. "I saw a script early on when we were all on schedule and James Gunn was attached before everything went nutso. I believe because [Marvel's] whole calendar has changed [due to the pandemic shutdown and Guardians' production delays], that storylines have changed, and they won't intersect like originally planned. Obviously, we lost Chadwick [Boseman], so I don't know where that leaves Black Panther. I haven't seen a new script, is the short answer."

Gunn announced last month that he has completed the Guardians 3 script and assured that any changes he made amid the pushbacks amount to "very little" overall.

Some history: Gunn originally announced he would return to write and direct Guardians 3 in 2017, just one month before the release of Guardians Vol. 2. Then in 2018, Disney and Marvel cut ties with Gunn over some of his older and controversial tweets and the film's production plan was put on hold. The studios re-hired Gunn in 2019, but by that time he was committed to first finishing his work writing and directing DC's The Suicide Squad, which is set for release on August 6, 2021.

Then there was another disruption when the pandemic shutdown struck in March. It's been unclear how much the shutdown has creatively impacted Marvel's Phase 4 and Phase 5 timeline. Black Widow was pushed back a year from its initial May 2020 release date, but that film is a prequel and wasn't expected to impact the rest of the slate (it's now planned for May 7, 2021). Eternals had likewise finished filming (and is now scheduled for Nov. 5, 2021). Bautista made a reference to the character of Black Panther; a Black Panther sequel is reportedly planned to start filming next summer and be released on May 6, 2022, though a successor to its late star Boseman has not been named (and it's unclear if the typically Earth-bound character was originally going to be in Guardians 3).

One character that's expected to cross paths with Guardians 3 is Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who had great chemistry with the Guardians team in the final two Avengers films and was last seen departing with Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and the gang at the end of 2019's Avengers: Endgame. The next Thor film, Thor: Love and Thunder, is thought to be set before Guardians 3 and is expected to go into production next year and be released on Feb. 11, 2022. Star-Lord is expected to show up in the Love and Thunder as well.

Until Guardians 3, Bautista has two major projects coming in 2021: He’ll play the sinister Glossu Rabban in Denis Villeneuve’s eagerly anticipated Dune (Oct 1), and he has the starring role in Zack Snyder’s zombie-heist Netflix movie Army of the Dead.

More information on the Marvel front is expected Thursday afternoon at Disney's Investor Day conference, along with a bevy of Star Wars news.

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