Now that Guardians of the Galaxy is officially the highest-grossing movie of the year (domestically), it’s time to consider what could have have been. Namely, what could have been had Jason Momoa been cast as Drax the Destroyer.
Momoa’s casting as Drax was practically a done deal back in February of last year, but it wasn’t long before reports stated that Momoa had backed out of the deal after negotiations for higher pay fell through. That March, Marvel announced former WWE star and MMA fighter, Dave Bautista, would be Drax, another candidate from the role’s rumored actor short list.
And while you might be thinking that Momoa is now kicking himself for passing on Guardians, the actor revealed earlier this year his reason for refusing the role was his reluctance to play yet another character who has few lines and doesn’t wear a shirt. Considering the actor’s recent resume – Stargate Atlantis, Game of Thrones, Conan the Barbarian – you can’t help but see his point.
Of course, only time – and perhaps an undeniable, official confirmation of his playing Aquaman for Warner Bros. – will reveal how wise that career decision was. In the meantime, we can still get a look at how Momoa would have looked as Drax thanks to this early concept art Marvel artist Andy Park shared via his Twitter account:
This design definitely falls within the realm of ‘shirtless, painted alien who doesn’t say much,’ which is precisely what Momoa admits he was looking to avoid. Though perhaps it was the bald head that scared him away from the role, as Momoa is known for his hair just about as much as he is his muscles. After all, Karen Gillan famously embraced shaving her head for her turn as Nebula.
Speaking of, this early design for Drax shares a lot of elements with concept art of Nebula and Gamora that Park also shared. For the most part, these earlier designs are more complicated and feature looks that are more cluttered. In the film, Bautista was outfitted simply in pants and boots along with his two blades – even after a few costume changes. This design has a lot of extraneous armor and belts and what not, which could have looked very bulky on Bautista’s already bulky frame (or Momoa’s, for that matter).
Most will likely agree that Drax’s look in the finished film is a better one, with a stronger emphasis on Dave Bautista’s already intimidating physique. But what do you think of this earlier concept design? Is it something you would’ve liked to see Bautista, or perhaps Momoa, wear in the film? Let us hear from you in the comments below!
Guardians of the Galaxy is in theaters now.