Guardians 3 finally brings Adam Warlock — the Savior, the Avatar of Life, and the head of the Universal Church of Truth — to the screen after multiple teases. James Gunn is the only Marvel director who’s shown any interest in the character so far.
With Gunn moving on to help run DC’s superhero-movie slate, leaving his Guardians series behind and wrapping up the story of the original team, his entire slate of characters is now potentially up for grabs.
Adam Warlock will return in future MCU projects, and Marvel has been cleverly setting up his character arc to excite the fans.
The movie introduces Adam Warlock as young and hapless, mostly a comic-relief character. He’s unfinished: We’re told that the movie’s villain, the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), popped Adam out of his creation cocoon “too early,” leaving him slightly child-like.
Adam has nearly Superman-level strength: He can fly, he doesn’t need any special gear to survive comfortably in the vacuum of space, he’s solid and fast, and while he isn’t invulnerable, he heals very quickly. But he’s huffy, naive and dope in his first appearance.
The movie’s events start to move Adam away from that direction. However, with so many better-established, more central characters getting story arcs, Vol. 3 doesn’t have much time for him.
He receives the quick shorthand equivalent of a classic traumatic superhero origin story, and then he’s done. This leaves him in a place where Marvel Studios could continue developing him into the kind of leading-man hero he became in the comics.
Gunn and Marvel are keeping those options entirely open.
How is the MCU setting up an Adam Warlock Movie?
Like many long-running Marvel heroes, the comics version of Adam Warlock has had different teammates over the years. Still, his core circle includes a couple of MCU original-flavor Guardians: Drax the Destroyer and Gamora.
Both of them wind up at loose ends by the finale of Vol. 3, with Drax looking like he needs some direction and a new set of buds. Whereas Gamora is at peace with her Ravager friends but free to roam the galaxy and get up to any nonsense she wants.
Another longtime Adam Warlock companion, Pip the Troll, was recently introduced to the MCU in an Eternals post-credits scene. Even ending Gamora’s relationship with Peter Quill could be part of that setup since she eventually became Adam Warlock’s love interest.
Another longtime ally of the character, Moondragon, has never shown up in the MCU. But canonically, she has romantic ties to Mantis, who ends Guardians Vol. 3 by heading off into space to find herself and decide what she wants as a person.
Moondragon is also Drax’s daughter in comics chronology, though that comes through many plot twists and turns that aren’t part of the MCU — at least not yet.
Any return to the screen for Adam Warlock would radically change him from the Christ-figure who repeatedly died to save entire planets in Marvel Comics continuity, and then was often resurrected. No matter his MCU future, it’ll require a creator like Gunn. Or it’ll require a unique fan enthusiasm for Adam, which seems unlikely, given how minimalist his character and subplot are in this initial outing.
In a series as colorful and complicated as the Guardians movies, one more angsty super-dude trying to figure out who he wants to be and who he wants to be with doesn’t tip the scales significantly.
For now, Marvel is being careful with Adam Warlock. His Vol. 3 arcs, going from a childish, easily led, approval-seeking servant of the High Evolutionary to a Guardian of the Galaxy, mirrors Rocket Raccoon’s story without the same levels of detail or emotional commitment.
But it’s a whole arc that leaves him ready to take center stage in a future Marvel Phase. Almost all the pieces for an Adam Warlock story are on the board. Whether anyone’s invested enough to pick them up remains to be seen.
What’s Next For Adam Warlock After Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 features the on-screen debut of Will Poulter as Adam Warlock after the character was teased in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Adam Warlock acts like a child, as if he was born yesterday, and he only does what Ayesha wants, although not that precisely.
Being on the other side, the Guardians still gave him and his pet, Blurp, mercy, and as Drax said, everyone deserves a second chance. That being said, Adam proved that he could be worthy of the opportunity given to him by the Guardians when he saved Star-Lord from dying.
Will Poulter addressed what is in store for the future of Adam Warlock in the MCU, “I need to find out where he’s headed. In the post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Adam Warlock is seen as a full-fledged member of the new Guardians under the tutelage of Rocket with the support of Groot.
And if I did, I would tell you, honestly. But I don’t.”
Poulter added, “I’m very honored that he’s a beloved character and that fans have been excited to see him. I’ve just been wanting to try and do justice to what James wrote.”
Poulter explained, “I’m excited to try and hopefully take him on and explore his evolution, but I don’t know exactly how that will look.”
It’s been intriguing to see how the MCU has set up elements that could potentially lead to an Adam Warlock-starring story down the line without actually committing to anything concrete.
And that could be because there are a lot of complicated decisions involved in translating any of the character’s comic adventures into a blockbuster film.
About Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The High Evolutionary, Rocket’s creator, emerges to reclaim his creation threatening to destroy the Guardians to get what he wants. Star-Lord must lead his team and protect one of their own while dealing with his emotional turmoil over Gamora. The stakes are even higher as Adam Warlock hunts the team on the orders of The Sovereign’s leader, Ayesha.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to hit theaters on May 5, 2023. Previous cast members will reprise their roles, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, and Pom Klementieff. Will Poulter and Chukwudi Iwuji will join the cast as Adam Warlock and The High Evolutionary.