Dave Bautista roamed the DC universe as a villain long before he became the Drax we all love. But what was his role in the Smallville series?
Did you know that Dave Bautista, Marvel’s son, started out in the DC Comics universe? Yes, you read that right. Before we got him as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, this WWE heavyweight debuted on the small screen with Smallville. A twist in his career that he himself didn’t see coming.
For those who don’t know, Smallville is a series that takes us through the adolescence of our Superman, Clark Kent, from his student life in Kansas City to becoming the hero we all know. But in this article, the superhero we are concerned with has tattooed his skin and broken thorns left and right.
A wonderful start
Dave plays Aldar, an alien criminal who escapes from the Phantom Zone. Yes, in his first role he was a ruthless antagonist who used a deadly technique known as the “Backbreaker” to destroy his enemies. Our Clark Kent (Tom Welling) had to work hard to stop him.
Interestingly, according to an interview with Wired, Bautista had no acting aspirations. “The role in Smallville was something that came out of my career in WWE. I didn’t really want to be an actor at the time,” he said. And see where the man, one of the most recognizable faces of the Marvel Universe, came from.
The tradition of fighters on the big and small screen
The phenomenon of fighters moving to film or TV is nothing new. John Cena played the peacemaker in the DC Extended Universe, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who doesn’t know him, has now turned into Black Adam. However, the jewel in the crown here is Bautista, who impressed in a short-lived role for an episode, but made his mark.
It is worth noting that Smallville was a springboard for actors who would later join the Marvel Universe. In addition to Bautista, the series introduced us to Evangeline Lilly, Cobie Smulders and Adrienne Palicki. It seems that Smallville had a talent radar in other comics that were later adapted to the screen.
Bautista’s New Ambition in DC
And now, hold the chair. Bautista was in talks with Warner Bros. to play the villainous Bane in a future Batman project. Although nothing is confirmed at the moment, if Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn takes over the DC Universe… who knows what could happen!
If Dave Bautista were to star in a future Batman project, we’d be talking about a qualitative leap in his acting career. Think about it, from a supporting role in Smallville to being one of Batman’s most popular villains, the Dark Knight has faced off in tooth and nail. This means not only a consecration in the hero genre, but also a practical challenge for him. Playing Bane requires an emotional complexity that we haven’t seen in Drax, the Marvel character. You could say it’s like going from the minor leagues to the big leagues in the comic book universe.
A brief review of Smallville and its legacy
Smallville was a milestone of its time, mixing romantic plots with plots taken directly from the comics. The series changed the way we watch comic book adaptations on television and perhaps paved the way for Marvel and DC to invest more in the format.
So the next time you see Dave Bautista on screen, remember that before he became the Guardian of the Galaxy, this warrior titan was already breaking spines and stealing scenes in Smallville. Oh, by the way, if you’re interested in taking a trip down memory lane, Smallville is available on HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video.