Every Marvel Cinematic Universe film needs its heroes… and villains. The next film on the docket is finally Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, which is coming to fruition over five years after the last solo Guardians outing. And, the team's newest villain may be one of the most dangerous yet. The trailer shows us Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary, who we can only assume is the big bad villain.
MCU audiences first got wind of the High Evolutionary at Comic-Con 2022, but now, the new Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 trailer proves that the speculation was grounded in reality. Between him and Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) now making appearances, it’s clear that the final installment with this group of Guardians is going to be an epic one.
The High Evolutionary is set to be the main villain in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.’
While the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 teased that Adam could be the biggest threat to the Guardians, it’s now clear that this was likely a red herring. For one, Adam often fights on the side of good over evil in the comic books, although we wouldn’t be surprised if there are some complications to winning Adam over to their side.
That’s because Adam is also the High Evolutionary’s adopted son. Basically, after a group of evil scientists (called the Enclave) created Adam to be the perfect human, first just named “Him,” Adam gained enough consciousness to realize that they were on the side of evil and he rebelled. After Thor nearly beat “Him” to death, he went into a regenerative cocoon and was reborn as “Warlock,” and began his new life with the High Evolutionary as his guide.
Now to the High Evolutionary — he actually began just like any other man. Well, any man who enjoys experimenting on animals as a child. The High Evolutionary was born Herbert Wyndham in the early 1900s and was obsessed with creating the genetically perfect being.
He even went to Oxford to study genetics, but after crossing paths with an Inhuman named Phaeder (who has little other importance in the Marvel comics), he obtains the necessary knowledge to unlock genetic codes.
Herbert creates a serum that allows for genetic alteration, likely not unlike the super-serum we’re now so familiar with. In fact, this was around the time of the 1920s and 30s, so although he was expelled from Oxford, he hung with his contemporary scientists at Nazi and HYDRA conventions, such as Arnim Zola. Herbert then built his lab on Wundagore Mountain — yes that’s the same mountain that Wanda goes to for the Darkhold in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
But who else gets dropped at Wundagore? According to the comics, Doctor Strange’s sequel wouldn’t have been Wanda’s first time at the mountain. As infants, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (who becomes Quicksilver), were left at the mountain. It’s been suggested then that Herbert actually experimented on them both, which is what led to some of their powers.
In the comic books, the High Evolutionary’s first major battle is against Thor and Jane Foster, and after seeing the splendors of the grander universe, he decides to launch his lab into outer space. This is where (and why) he would come across the Guardians, as well as his adopted son, Adam Warlock.
Throughout the comics, it’s the High Evolutionary’s goal to advance evolution as much as possible. He’s experimented on himself and on his subjects so much that they lose their humanity. In this way, his ideals and actions are reminiscent of those of Hitler, eugenics advocates, and even Voldemort. It’s also been hinted that the High Evolutionary actually created Rocket Raccoon, and that Rocket was one of his few experiments who had the consciousness to rebel against him.
Chukwudi Iwuji is portraying the High Evolutionary in the MCU's ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3’.
An ideal actor to play such a grandiose villain, Nigerian actor Chukwudi Iwuji got his start with the Royal Shakespeare Company, an elite company of actors in England tasked with performing some of the world’s most complex works. While he’s been a professional theater actor for over two decades, his breakthrough film role was in John Wick: Chapter 2 in 2017.
More recently, he collaborated with GotG director James Gunn in Peacemaker, so we’re eager to see how he unleashes his inner villain… or god.