Fans might remember how Chukwudi Iwuji's High Evolutionary died when his ship blew up at the end of the film. That recollection would be wrong, as Drax actually carried him off the ship prior to its destruction - a moment which can technically be glimpsed in the final movie.
The reveal is expounded on thanks to a deleted scene that made its way online after the movie was released digitally. In it, the High Evolutionary can be seen in his prison cell on Knowhere, with Rocket having put him there himself.
But, canonically, did all of that happen?
Guardian's Canon Twist Ending
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn confirmed on his Threads account that a deleted scene pertaining to Chukwudi Iwuji's High Evolutionary is canon.
In response to another user asking if the deleted scene is canon, the filmmaker noted how he "think[s] its canon:"
"I think it's canon. It's definitely canon that we see Drax saving him when they save the animals."
The deleted twist ending can be seen below.
The High Evolutionary Lives
Since Drax can be seen with High Evolutionary over his shoulders in the finished project, it makes sense that the villain's survival is considered explicitly canon—even if the detail is easy to miss.
While Gunn seems confident that the villain is still locked up on Knowhere, since the moment did not make it to the final product, Marvel Studios is left with plenty of room to change some of the key details around.
Traditionally, deleted scenes aren't considered canon. Including them could confuse the general audience, who would likely have never seen those removed moments outside the theaters.
At the very least, fans can rest assured knowing that the door is not entirely closed for Chukwudi Iwuji to return as the dastardly villain.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now available to purchase digitally.