As it turns out, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's ending featured a shocking twist that fans have not seemed to pick up on.
Guardians 3 is finally here, spotlighting James Gunn's merry band of intergalactic misfits as they go up against Marvel villain High Evolutionary, played by Chukwudi Iwuji.
Iwuji's experimental big bad was part of what has been called the "EASIEST Marvel villain to hate," with this character striking a chord with audiences because of his abuse of Rocket Racoon and his other animal friends.
That is why when the character was assumed dead at the end of the movie, MCU fans across the world rejoiced.
A Hidden Twist in Guardians 3
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 VFX artist Miguel Ángel Acevedo Montserrat recently confirmed that a major twist relating to Chukwudi Iwuji's High Evolutionary was hidden in the film and no one noticed.
Speaking in an interview with Strip Marvel, Monserrat (who worked on the Guardians 3 scene in which the animal stampede escapes from Arête Laboratories) revealed that Dave Bautista's Drax the Destroyer can be seen carrying and saving the High Evolutionary.
While Iwuji's MCU villain was not expressly shown dying on-screen like some other big bads of the franchise, he was assumed dead after the explosion of his grotesque research facility.
This confirmation comes after weeks of speculation from fans that the High Evolutionary could return somewhere down the line in the super-powered franchise.
Iwuji himself teased High Evolutionary's survival in an interview with Comicbook.com's Phase Zero podcast, revealing that they had actually filmed an alternate ending for the film, making mention that "you don't actually see me go down with the ship:"
"Well, let me just put it this way. I'm hoping you'll see an extended version or maybe an alternate ending, you know, that we certainly did film... The point is that Rocket doesn't shoot me. They make a point of saying why don't you kill him and he says, 'No, I'm not going to kill him.' And you don't actually see me go down with the ship. So, I'll just leave it at that."
Will the High Evolutionary Return in the MCU?
While High Evolutionary tenure in the MCU has assumingly come to an end, this new information means that anything could happen.
Sure, no one is ever really dead in Marvel Studios' super-powered universe, but this small detail overtly shows that Chukwudi Iwuji's Guardians 3 villain could still be out there.
There is always the chance that the High Evolutionary had died before his research facility started to detonate, and Drax is simply carrying the dead body of the film's big bad. But it's more fun to think the villain could still be alive when he is being carried out from Arête Laboratories.
Despite being "the cruelest MCU villain," according to director James Gunn, fans have latched on to the character, heralding him as one of the best in the series' more than 15-year history.
Marvel would be smart to bring the High Evolutionary back, perhaps as a part of a bigger villainous team in one of the upcoming MCU team-up Avengers movies.
It remains to be seen if the High Evolutionary will, in fact, come back in any way, but it seems like this hidden Easter egg was completely intentional so as to not 100% close the door on the character making an MCU return sometime in the future.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 is playing in theaters worldwide now.