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Is ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Dealing With One Villain or Two?

Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Grott (Vin Diesel), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Nebula (Karen Gillan) exit their ship in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'

After multiple delays, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is finally upon us. The third and final installment in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy is hitting theaters on May 5, 2023. Details of the plot are being kept largely under wraps, but the whole gang is set to return for another adventure, including Gamora (Zoe SaldaƱa), due to some time travel shenanigans in Avengers: Endgame. Additionally, two powerful new characters are set to make their debut in the film: Adam Warlock and the High Evolutionary.

Will Poulter is making his MCU debut as Adam Warlock, while Chukwudi Iwuji will make his debut as the High Evolutionary. In the comics, Warlock and the High Evolutionary are very intertwined; the High Evolutionary named Warlock before becoming one of his biggest foes. While Warlock is mostly depicted as a hero, he has also been frequently depicted as an anti-hero and occasionally as a villain in Marvel Comics. Meanwhile, the High Evolutionary is largely depicted as a villain, though the extent of his villainy differs depending on his iteration. During his early comic book history, he was more of a misguided genius than the full-fledged foe he later became.

As a result, fans are eager to learn exactly how these characters fit into the sequel, and which one of them will be serving as the main antagonist. While very little is known of Warlock’s role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, he isn’t anticipated to be a villain, at least not a major one. Generally, the only time he fell into villainous territory was when he was disoriented from his initial creation, leading to him fighting Thor and attempting to kidnap Lady Sif. However, after being reborn and dubbed Warlock by the High Evolutionary, he appointed himself as a protector of the universe.

Since he was created to eliminate the Guardians, he might give them a little trouble. He’ll likely snap out of it, though, and end up joining their side as the film progresses, meaning he won’t be the primary threat.

Who is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3‘s villain?

Chukwudi Iwuji as High Evolutionary in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
(Marvel Studios)

Iwuji’s High Evolutionary will be the main antagonist in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In the comics, the High Evolutionary was born Herbert Edgar Wyndham, and he was a brilliant geneticist inspired by the work of Nathaniel Essex (a.k.a. Mister Sinister). As an adult, Wyndham became obsessed with advancing human evolution and began carrying out unethical experiments, such as evolving his pet dog into a humanoid creature with the intelligence of a chimpanzee. Wyndham continued these experiments, dubbing his animal-humanoid creations “New Men.” His ambitions only continued to grow, eventually evolving from wanting to create the perfect human to wanting to create the perfect world.

As often happens with mad scientists, Wyndham’s creations backfired. Counter-Earth was meant to be a utopia but was corrupted and terrorized by Man-Beast, and Wyndham himself was gravely injured by one of his New Men. This led Wyndham to perform genetic experiments on himself, resulting in his evolution into the High Evolutionary. He became god-like in his powers and intelligence, but also became even more unhinged and prone to episodes of mania. The High Evolutionary has never stopped trying to perfect Counter-Earth or merge it with Earth, nor has he stopped trying to mutate and evolve the human population.

It seems that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will likely follow the High Evolutionary’s comic book arc. It has been confirmed that, in the MCU, Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) was created by the High Evolutionary as part of his unethical and traumatic experiments. In the trailer, Rocket mentions that the High Evolutionary just “hated things the way they are,” hence his constant experimentation. Additionally, the villain mentions wanting to make the “perfect society.” This is very much in line with the comic book iteration of the character, who sometimes did genuinely believe he was fixing the world, although he was actually making it worse.

It’s unclear what his exact plans are in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but they will likely be along the lines of his comic book counterpart.

(featured image: Marvel Studios)

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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.