Chukwudi Iwuji Plays the Cruelest MCU Villain to Date in 'GOTG Vol. 3'

Allison DeGrushe - Author

May 5 2023, Updated 3:17 p.m. ET

Chukwudi Iwuji attends the 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' world premiere on April 27, 2023
Source: Getty Images

After years of anticipation, our favorite band of misfit superheroes is back in the MCU for one last ride. The third and final installment in the Guardians franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, sees the titular intergalactic team embark on their most dangerous mission yet to save Rocket's (Bradley Cooper) life and protect him from his maker.

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Speaking of his maker, that's when Chukwudi Iwuji comes into play. The classically trained thespian plays the cruelest villain in the MCU, so stick around to learn more about his character, the High Evolutionary.

Chukwudi Iwuji as The High Evolutionary in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'
Source: Marvel Studios
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Who does Chukwudi Iwuji play in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'?

As previously stated, Chukwudi Iwuji plays the High Evolutionary in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. He's a brilliant (yet sadistic) scientist obsessed with evolution and genetic manipulation. The villain primarily experiments on animals; he sees them as "lower life forms" and aims to enhance them into a perfect species.

Originally, he was an Oxford-educated genius biologist named Herbert Edgar Wyndham who developed an obsession with evolution. His journey began with an interest in studying human DNA, which ultimately led him to create a serum that transformed him into the High Evolutionary.

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The High Evolutionary made his Marvel Comics debut in 1966's The Mighty Thor #134, and from there, he played a key role in unlocking the powers of the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Spider-Woman. He operated on his base in Mount Wundagore, transforming animals into anthropomorphic creatures that he dubbed "New Men."

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He's one of the most powerful villains, seeing as no ordinary human could match his genius and knowledge. The High Evolutionary even created his own planet: Counter-Earth, a replica of Earth which he populated with his New Men. His intelligence isn't his only asset, as the High Evolutionary possesses superhuman abilities. The full range of his powers is unrevealed, but he has psionic abilities and enhanced durability and strength.

Chukwudi Iwuji said the High Evolutionary is irredeemable.

During an interview with Games Radar, the actor said there's not an ounce of humanity in the High Evolutionary: "He doesn't have any redeeming qualities," Chukwudi explained.

"He's a proper villain you know, proper with a capital P," he told the outlet. "He's going after something terrifying, he makes you very uncomfortable, and you're waiting for him to get his comeuppance. And those [qualities] are very fun to play without any apology or any craving for sympathy from the audience's side."

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Chukwudi Iwuji as The High Evolutionary in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'
Source: Marvel Studios

Chukwudi also spoke with and admitted it was difficult to watch his scenes with Rocket; however, he noted it was "helpful" to work with humans so it felt less like animal cruelty.

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"What was helpful was that I was working with Sean Gunn a lot as opposed to any animals, so I was interacting with another actor," he said. "But I have to say, the first time I saw — I was doing an ADR or something, and I saw a scene with Rocket's eyes, I literally saw my dog's eyes... I saw his face, and I was like, 'I am going to Hell' when I saw that."

Chukwudi added, "It really helped that when I was dealing with the animals, I wasn't really dealing with any animals; it would have been much harder that way. My agent couldn't talk to me properly for like two days after a screening. She went home and hugged her dog, and was like, 'I don't know how I can talk to you.'"

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now in theaters.

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