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Dave Bautista Cast As James Gunn's Bane In Retro DCU Fan Art (And He Loves It)

With the DC Extended Universe now well and truly over with the release of the box office bomb "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom," a new era is dawning for DC Comics-based media. James Gunn and Peter Safran's DC Universe is coming together, with projects like "Superman" and "The Brave and the Bold" set to wipe the cinematic slate clean for countless characters. Thus, fans have wasted no time tossing out their ideal casting choices for DC heroes and villains alike, with Dave Bautista as Batman rogue Bane standing out as one of the most popular.

To help visualize the dream casting of many fans, artist Davi Alves took to Instagram to share his artwork featuring the ex-wrestler as the Dark Knight's luchador-inspired villain. It has the actor in a retro Bane outfit, flexing his massive muscles and screaming about breaking Batman, which the villain famously does in the "Knightfall" comic storyline. The art is wrapped in an old-school aesthetic and made to look like a comic book cover. Bautista, whose DC track record includes an oft-forgotten "Smallville" role, even commented on the artwork. "Awesome!" he wrote alongside a flame emoji, clearly giving the piece his seal of approval.

Unfortunately, neither this support nor his storied friendship with Gunn means Bautista sees himself landing the Bane role in the DCU.

Bautista doesn't foresee himself playing Bane in the DCU

There's no doubt that Dave Bautista would make an excellent live-action Bane. After all, he's no stranger to leading blockbuster comic book adaptations. He famously played Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and features prominently in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" films. As far as portraying the hulking Batman villain on a physical level, his imposing frame and history as the intense and powerful Batista in WWE make him a perfect fit. However, Bautista doesn't think a visit to Gotham City is in his future due to one major factor: his age.

"I think the direction [James Gunn is] leaning in, completely rebooting that whole universe, he's starting from scratch and starting younger and fresher and I think you need to do that," Bautista told Business Insider in 2023, revealing that he had previously spoken with Gunn about the director's vision for the DCU. He understands that the DCU is about taking a more youthful approach, and he might not quite fit as Bane. He added that he wouldn't want to take on the role anyway, especially if he can't do it right. "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."

Although it's unlikely that a Dave Bautista take on Bane will become a reality, at least we have pieces of incredible fan art to show us what could've been. Plus, we might have Bautista's return to Marvel to look forward to.