Gunn elaborated on Twitter that it would have seemed "silly & hollow" and against Rocket's journey as a character if he had just left the High Evolutionary on his exploding ship:
"Yes! It’s the whole culmination of Rocket’s journey. His shift comes in that he doesn’t kill him - he goes from being the least empathetic to the most empathetic Guardian. It seems silly & hollow that he’d refuse to kill him & then leave him on an exploding ship."
At the time, Gunn also confirmed the existence of a deleted scene of the villain's imprisonment on Knowhere but that "it messed up the pacing of the end" and that fans would see it "in the extras eventually:"
"And, yes, there is a deleted scene. It’s really great actually but it messed up the pacing of the end. But you’ll see it in the extras eventually."
The High Evolutionary Is Now a Prisoner
The Blu-ray release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on August 1 will have eight deleted scenes, including one confirming the High Evolutionary's survival at the hands of the Guardians and his imprisonment on Knowhere:
- "Knowhere After the Battle" - The High Evolutionary is brought back to Knowhere and locked up while Kraglin recruits Adam Warlock.
Several other scenes include more time with Adam Warlock and Ayesha, Counter-Earth, the High Evolutionary's minion, Behemoth, and more.
Will Guardians 3's Villain Appear in the MCU’s Future?
It's unusual for villains in the MCU to survive past their debut films. It's an honor only held by Loki, Helmut Zemo, Agatha Harkness, and a handful more. But what matters is if future films will follow up on the High Evolutionary's survival.
In the comics, the High Evolutionary has been an enemy to many of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including the Avengers, X-Men, Inhumans, and even recently some of its teenage heroes, like Ms. Marvel. So there's still plenty of potential for the mad scientist to make his mark on the universe again.
Once mutants are finally introduced on the MCU's Earth-616, the High Evolutionary could become extremely relevant when it comes to the sudden evolution of humanity, especially when the threequel already established the villain's knowledge of Earth.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be available digitally on Friday, July 7, and on DVD and Blu-ray on August 1.