DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn made headlines in the last few days in noting that there will likely be a place for all of the stars from his Guardians franchise after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 debuts this Spring. Theories have already been thrown out for roles that actors like Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldaña could take on, with another big name being on the table in Dave Bautista as well.
Bautista made it clear that Guardians 3 will almost definitely be his final MCU appearance as Drax, and he’s mentioned that the DCU is a franchise he’d love to join someday. Specifically, he’s had his eye on Batman villain Bane, especially since the hulking antagonist hasn’t been done in live-action since Tom Hardy’s take in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises under director Christopher Nolan's watch.
But is the Bautista/Bane combination a real possibility at this stage of the DCU's development and at this stage of Batista’s career?
Dave Bautista Puts Batman Hopes To Rest
Speaking with Insider, MCU veteran Dave Bautista revealed where he stands with potentially playing Batman villain Bane in the new DC Universe.
He confirmed that he's discussed the idea with DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn, who is looking to redo the entire DC story from the ground up under his watch:
"I have had conversations with James about that but I think the direction he’s leaning in, completely rebooting that whole universe..."
Bautista concurred with Gunn about this strategy and felt that Warner Bros. needs "to start with younger actors" and "plan for the next 15 years," which he doesn't see happening with himself at 54 years old. Admitting that he doesn't see himself being able to handle the physicality or "bring justice to Bane anymore" at this stage of his life, he respects the direction Gunn is taking and appreciates that his longtime director wants to do things the right way:
“I think for the DC Universe to be revived, you need to start from scratch, and I think you need to start with younger actors.You need to start to plan for the next 15 years, and I just don’t think you can do that with me. And I understand that. And, also, I have to say that I appreciate that because I don’t want to play a character that I can’t bring justice to it. I don’t think at this point in my career that I can bring justice to Bane anymore. I just don’t know if I could handle the physical part, and I don’t think I would have the longevity to plan ahead for films. So, I just don’t know if I’d be that guy.”
Over the years, Bautista has made it no secret that he’s had Bane on his mind for a long time.
He discussed the idea with Collider in 2021, noting that he went to the old regime at Warner Bros. and told them point-blank about his ambitions, even at a time when the role wasn’t being cast:
“Oh, it would be Bane all day long. I’ve made no secret about this. I want to play Bane so bad I went to Warner Bros., had an appointment with them, had an appointment with DC, walked in the door and said, ‘I want to play Bane.’ I’m not kidding. They were a little like ‘Woah, we’re not even casting Bane.’ I was like ’I don’t care, I’m playing him.’”
He also dove deeper into the Bane idea in May 2021, comparing his potential portrayal to Tom Hardy’s in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. He loved the idea of bulking up for the role, showing the character’s terrifying physical nature while having him be “freakishly intelligent” and never having to really yell or lash out at opponents:
“I think I could bring an interesting twist to it and I think I could do the character justice. Not only in performance, but also in physicality. I’d love that role where I’d have to go back up to 320 pounds just to play this character, like that it would happen. I could...play Bane in a way that’s not only menacing and ominous but also freakishly intelligent. Bane would be the type of character that’s so menacing and so terrifying and so intelligent, he would hardly ever raise his voice.”
Will Dave Bautista Ever Join the DCU?
While this is certainly a disappointing development considering Bautista's desire to bring Bane to life, the actor and executive appear to be taking the practical approach when it comes to doing the Batman villain.
These quotes seemingly indicate that Gunn is looking ahead to the next decade and more rather than the immediate future, with Bane being a character that could and should be in line for multiple movies over the years. And with Bautista nearing his mid-50s, even for the incredible shape he's able to maintain, this role might be a little bit too tough for him to do the way he would ideally do it at this stage.
It also backs up insider rumors about Gunn looking to almost completely reboot the DCU from scratch, bringing in a crop of younger and lesser-known actors to embody DC's biggest names. While it may be a challenge for the studio to try going down this route fully, especially trying to emulate what the MCU has done, Gunn saw what it took during his time working with Marvel and clearly has his own vision in mind.
On the Bane front, Gunn already debunked a bogus rumor about Bane's arrival nearly a year ago, making it clear that the villain wasn't in line for a role in Peacemaker Season 2. And while that's still the case now, there's a good chance that the Batman antagonist does have a place somewhere in the new DCU.
James Gunn and his partner, Peter Safran, are expected to reveal their new plans for the DC Universe before the end of January.