Dave Bautista will quit Guardians of the Galaxy if James Gunn’s script isn’t used

"This was a smear campaign on a good man"

Dave Bautista has said that he is ready to leave the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise if James Gunn’s script isn’t used, as fallout continues from the director’s sacking.

Disney cut ties with the director of the first two Guardians films shortly after tweets from 2008 and 2009  in which he seemingly jokes about rape and paedophilia were brought to light by conservative website The Daily Caller.

In a new interview with Shortlist, Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel franchise, said that he is ready to walk away from the project if Gunn’s script isn’t used.

A replacement director for Gunn is yet to be announced, but he had turned in his script before the sacking. “Where I’m at right now is that if [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. I’d be doing James a disservice if I didn’t,” Bautista said.

“Nobody’s defending his tweets, but this was a smear campaign on a good man,” the actor continued. “I spoke to Chris Pratt the day after it happened and he’s a bit religious so he wanted time to pray and figure it out, but I was more like: fuck this. This is bullshit. James is one of the kindest, most decent people I’ve met.”

He later reiterated this support, tweeting today in response to a fan: “Its pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis . That’s just how I feel”

Bautista has also defended Gunn in the past, describing him as “one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met. Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana have also since spoken out on the scandal, and over 300,000 people have signed a petition demanding his reinstatement.

Despite  Guardians‘ primary cast members signing an open letter in support of Gunn, Disney are reportedly “unlikely” to rehire the director.

Conservative TV personality Roseanne Barr, however, is “disgusted” at this outpouring of solidarity, decrying the lack of similar support after she herself was sacked from her sitcom for a racist tweet.