Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldaña Are Done With Marvel, but Chris Pratt Isn’t: Playing Star Lord ‘Would Be Strange’ Without James Gunn, but ‘I Would Do It’

With the release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” comes the end of James Gunn’s tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The filmmaker is exiting the MCU after directing three “Guardians” movies and is moving on to his new full-time job as the co-head of DC Studios, where he’s building a new DC Universe across film, television and video games that includes a Superman movie he’s writing and directing.

Gunn’s “Guardians” cast members Zoe Saldaña and Dave Bautista have already gone on record saying they’re exiting Marvel along with Gunn following the release of “Guardians Vol. 3.” Chris Pratt, who has headlined the “Guardians” franchise as Star Lord, is a different story. Speaking to Total Film magazine, Pratt said he would continue to play the character as long as Marvel honors what Gunn started.

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“It would be strange to continue [Star Lord’s] story without James,” Pratt said. “He’s done such a masterful job in the first three films. We really found the voice of Peter Quill together and without him, obviously, I would never have had this opportunity. He writes it, he directs it, he dreams up the music, it’s his imagination on screen. So, to continue to tell the story, it would really be important to honor what he’s done in the first three films and to honor what the fans have grown to love about the character and not simply do it because people might show up to pay for it, you know?”

Pratt continued, “I don’t want to be cynical in the approach and if that’s the case, I just wouldn’t do it at all. So maybe down the road if something makes sense I would do it but it would really have to check a lot of the right boxes.”

Pratt already has experience playing Star Lord for directors who aren’t James Gunn, but only in a supporting role capacity. Joe and Anthony Russo directed “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” while Taika Waititi helmed “Thor: Love and Thunder.” All three Marvel tentpoles featured Pratt’s Star Lord but not as a headlining character — only the Gunn-directed “Guardians” movies have put Star Lord front and center.

As for Pratt’s “Guardians” co-stars, Saldaña recently told The Hollywood Reporter point blank that “Vol. 3” is the last time she’ll be in a Marvel movie as her character Gamora. She said, “I don’t think this is the end for the Guardians. It is the end for me, for Gamora.”

Bautista confirmed in an interview with GQ magazine earlier this year that “Vol. 3” would be his last outing as Drax.

“I’m so grateful for Drax. I love him. But there’s a relief [that it’s over],” Bautista said at the time. “It wasn’t all pleasant. It was hard playing that role. The makeup process was beating me down. And I just don’t know if I want Drax to be my legacy — it’s a silly performance, and I want to do more dramatic stuff.”

In a previous Rolling Stone interview, Pratt also expressed interest in playing Star Lord without Gunn. The actor said, “Now if you’re saying to me, Chris Pratt the actor, do I want to reprise my role as Peter Quill and is there mileage left in the character and do I have the bandwidth or headspace for that? I do. I’d be interested in playing the character again.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” opens in theaters nationwide May 5 from Disney.

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