While it was previously reported that scheduling conflicts stood in the way of him joining the cast of James Gunn’s The Suicide SquadDave Bautista reveals the real reason why he chose to star in the Zack Snyder-directed Army of the Dead over reuniting with the Guardians of the Galaxy director. 

“I get to build a relationship with Netflix, I get a lead role in a great film — and I get paid a lot more money,” Bautista told Digital Spy. “I had to call James, and I told him, ‘It breaks my heart, because as a friend, I want to be there with you, but professionally, this is the smart decision for me.” 

Bautista continued, “[Gunn] said, ‘I completely get it. I’m proud of you that you’re even in this position. I’m proud that I had something to do with you being in this position where you have to make these hard decisions.’” 

Bautista also told Digital Spy that he believes Drax’s story will come to an conclusion with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. “I don’t think they’re very interested [in a Drax and Mantis film], or it doesn’t fit into the way they have things mapped out,” he said. “But other than that, no. I mean, as far as my obligations, I’ve got Guardians 3, and that’s probably going to be the end of Drax.”

If that is the case, then Bautista has to be thinking about the next step in his acting career, and landing a lead role in a film backed by the largest streaming service in the world in Netflix seems like a step in the right direction. As the 52-year-old actor notes, the success of Army of the Dead could help him further his relationship with Netflix, but it could also lead to Snyder considering him in future projects. 

As you may recall, Bautista voiced his displeasure over Disney’s decision to part ways with Gunn after old tweets joking about rape and pedophilia were unearthed. While his fellow cast eventually released a joint statement in support of Gunn, Bautista was the most vocal when it came to applying pressure to the Mouse House, threatening to request that Marvel release him from his contract if the director’s script wasn’t used for GOTG3, and expressing doubt that he would ever work for Disney again over this falling out.  

Army of the Dead will come out in theaters on May 14 and be available on Netflix the following week. The Suicide Squad will get the simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max release on Aug. 6 while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is slated to drop in 2023.