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Guardians 3: [SPOILER] Actually Doesn't Die And Why That's A Good Thing

Contains spoilers for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3"

We've known for a while that "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" was going to be James Gunn's swan song for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, he'll have his hands full overseeing the future of DC's films, but he had one last chance to see his colorful crew of intergalactic misfits on one final mission. Seeing how "Vol. 3" was going to be the end of an era, it made sense for fans to wonder if some of the beloved Guardians would bite the dust, with the most likely suspect being Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista).

The actor has been incredibly vocal about how "Vol. 3" would be his final outing as Drax, so it wouldn't be out of the question for the film to kill him off so that there was no way he could come back. However, by the time the credits roll, Drax is still alive, and he's actually decided to stay on Knowhere to help Nebula (Karen Gillan) look after the city while taking care of the kids they rescued off the High Evolutionary's (Chukwudi Iwuji) ship. Nebula even mentions how Drax can finally be a dad rather than a destroyer. 

For some, Drax surviving another adventure may feel like a letdown, as though the film didn't adequately raise the stakes by putting one of the original Guardians' lives in danger. However, Drax living is actually a far more suitable resolution for his character development.

Drax deserves happiness

Rest assured; there's plenty of death in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." Numerous nameless thugs meet their demises, and the High Evolutionary obliterates an entire planet because it didn't live up to his ideal of perfection. But none of the main Guardians lose their lives in the fight, even Rocket (Bradley Cooper), despite a good chunk of the film's marketing hinting his days were numbered. 

Killing off a Guardian would've been a good way to raise the stakes and prove what a menace the High Evolutionary was. But they all live and decide to go their separate ways by the film's end. While it can feel anticlimactic, there's actually a sense of peace achieved. Each Guardian has experienced so much trauma in their lives. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) lost his mother at a young age and was then abducted by aliens. Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) and Nebula were tortured by Thanos (Josh Brolin). Rocket was experimented on, and Groot (Vin Diesel) is the last of his kind. After so much suffering, what good would really come from more suffering? 

It's a far more fitting conclusion for these broken people who initially turned to lives of crime to finally find peace and family and tranquility within one another. A heroic character arc shouldn't always mean giving one's life for a greater cause. Dying's easy; living's hard. It's far more fitting for these broken people to continue living to give others the lives they never had and to make the galaxy a more peaceful place. 

Drax gets a complete character arc, and that's all anyone could ask for

Drax is a tragic figure throughout the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies. When he's introduced, the audience learns how Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) killed his wife and daughter, sending him on a vengeful rampage throughout the galaxy, where he ended up imprisoned and ultimately met the rest of the Guardians. He's still powered by vengeance by the end of that first movie, saying that Thanos will be his next target. By the third installment, he's still driven by killing, as evidenced by a humorous exchange where he insists they have to kill as many as possible before going on a mission where Peter Quill has to talk him down. 

The problem is that Drax was never meant to be a Destroyer. He had built a life for himself that was tragically ripped away from him, forcing him to become something that likely would've been unrecognizable to his wife. Drax's theoretical death would've merely been a violent end to a violent life, likely causing some audience members to shed tears, but probably would've felt hollow upon leaving the theater. 

Instead, it works far better for Drax's arc to once again go back to being the thing that made him happy in the first place — being a father. The finale of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" sees Drax dancing and laughing wildly along with all the children they rescued. He may never get his first daughter back, but he can give these children the lives she never had, setting them up to live much more peaceful existences than he endured. Drax the Destroyer didn't need to die. He just needed to become Drax the Dad.