Imagine Jason Momoa Was In The MCU. Now Imagine It Almost Happened. It Almost Happened.
Over the years, the actors of the MCU have become such a staple that fans cannot see the characters played by someone else. Chris Hemsworth was practically destined to be Thor and managed to humanize him despite his good looks. Jason Momoa, who gained popularity for ‘Game of Thrones’, is in the DCEU, and his new movie ‘Aquaman’ is now in theaters. However, he almost joined Marvel.
So many actors
Casting must be a really tough job because you have to get someone who fits the image of a character, but also a person that can portray the qualities of that superhero. Chadwick Boseman gave life to King T’Challa, the Black Panther, this year, and people loved his performance as well as the revelation that a black character could be so popular.
Robert Downey Jr. took on the task of basically starting the MCU with a relatively unpopular character as Iron Man. Now, he is the leader of the Avengers and the highest-paid actor in Marvel. Chris Evans might be saying goodbye to Captain America next year, but his performance as Steve Rogers gave a spirit and sense of patriotism to the world of superheroes.
Jason Momoa was almost picked as Drax the Destroyer for 2014’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Charlie Wen was the head of visual development at Marvel Studio back then, and he talked about the character’s design, which would have suited Momoa perfectly before they landed on Dave Bautista. He also discussed how Drax almost looked like a character from a video game.
Wearing a cape
Let’s face it, the original 1973 image for Drax was recognizable and straightforward but also entirely over the top. It’s understandable because it was a different time, but clearly, his outfit was not suitable for the big screen in modern times. No alien calling himself “the destroyer” would be believable while wearing a purple jumpsuit with a cape.
The Hulk has been rocking purple shorts that contrast with his green skin for many years, so Drax’s problem was not the choice of a purple uniform, as it always goes well with green. The prominent predicaments were the star in the chest and the skull on his belt combined with the purple form-fitted costume. After his first appearance in ‘Iron Man #55’, his look was even weirder.
They added another skull around his neck to really emphasize the term “the destroyer”, but this simply would not work for audiences, even if the character is now funnier than scarier. Wen and Marvel Studios had a lot of work cut out for them with Drax, but we are glad that his comic-book look was never even considered.
A new look
Before landing the job at Marvel Studios, Charlie Wen worked for Sony on designing Kratos, the anti-hero from ‘God of War’, who was first seen in March 2005, but they had spent several years working on the character. That same year, Marvel Comics introduced a miniseries about Drax the Destroyer with a new look that changed his odd uniform, forgoing the shirt and adding some tattoos.
This was a new image for Drax, but when someone sent the comic books to Sony, Wen realized that he looked a lot like his work for Kratos. "I remember at Sony, we were like, ‘Oh man, what should we do about this?’ They can't make it look — It looked so much like Kratos!” Therefore, it was almost fate that Charlie Wen ended up as the head of design at Marvel Studios.
Furthermore, he landed the task of having to adapt the character for the big screen, so his first thought was: “How am I gonna make this character not look like the character I designed for God of War?" He had to stay true to the modern comic book version, but also make it worthy for the film. We cannot imagine how hard it must be.
Khal Drogo almost became Drax
As Wen and his group worked on the images for the film, the casting people had to find the appropriate actors for each part. One of the many cool things about the MCU is that they consider both newcomers and veterans, and Jason Momoa was rising to stardom thanks to the role of Khal Drogo in ‘Game of Thrones’. Due to the imposing look of the character, he seemed like a perfect fit.
Wen even said, “Jason Momoa sent in this amazing screen test, and of course he already knew how to do those fighting positions. He looked very convincing." Therefore, the designer went ahead to create artwork with Jason’s face in mind, imagined as Drax the Destroyer, which was also different from the comic books, and much closer to what we saw on screen in the movie.
However, while Momoa would have been fantastic, the wrestler Dave Bautista was also competing for the role, and he got the part in the end. “I think with Momoa in it, it felt like the Game of Thrones character that he played. He has a great face for it. We did some takes with Momoa as the character, as Drax, but ultimately I think Bautista really took that role."
No hard feelings
Even the actor said that he was alright with the decision in an interview, "I want my children to see their father happy. It's not that it's not a good role, it just wasn't the right thing. I was on Stargate: Atlantis for four years playing a similar character called Ronon, who was an alien who didn't say much and grunted. I've been there and done that, whether people have seen it or not. You want to stretch."
Of course, now Jason Momoa has his own movie with the role of Aquaman, but either way, Wen and Marvel Studios felt that Dave Bautista was the better choice. "Bautista brought this — a different side to it that nobody was expecting. A little funny, but naturally funny. It was like, 'Wow, this is a whole character. He's bringing something to that character.'"
"From that point on, too, [...] we designed it specifically for him — even the way his head is shaped."
Wen worked hard at making a new Drax that would not resemble the 2005 version that was so similar to Kratos. One of the main points he focused on was the tattoos that are not so much a part of this character, and even when they had Momoa in mind, he was leaning towards this look with his whole chest tattooed.
After choosing Bautista, they continued with that frame of mind. "All the tattoos that went on him is really telling about his story. His life is basically on his body. Everybody's afraid of him. He's somebody that even people in prison are afraid of. This is an intergalactic prison, where you have all these huge characters that would, I don't know, just look really scary and monstrous.”
Do you think Jason Momoa would have been a better Drax? We honestly believe that it was the best move for both the studio and the actor because it is true that he had portrayed similar roles in the past. Everything happens for a reason. If you liked this article, share it with all your friends who enjoyed ‘Aquaman’. See you next time!