In the months leading to the movie's premiere, Gunn noted that Warlock is "definitely not a good guy," saying that the character "does not understand life very well."
Marketing for Guardians 3 clearly established this idea when one of the movie's clips showcased a clash between Warlock and the team.
More so, Adam Warlock actor Will Poulter pointed out that the character is someone who "[came] out of the oven early and isn't fully baked," indicating a complex persona for the MCU newcomer.
James Gunn Explains Adam Warlock's MCU Debut
Speaking with io9, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn talked about Adam Warlock's debut in the threequel after being teased in the sequel's post-credits scene.
When asked what aspect of the movie's story was the hardest to tackle, Gunn, without hesitation, responded with Warlock's inclusion, noting that "it was really difficult:"
io9: “Now, this movie obviously comes in with lots of tackle. You have the Rocket’s origin, like you said, the whole Gamora thing we talked about, Drax’s family, which has always been kind of a question there, and then these new characters. So, what aspect of the story was the hardest to organically get into the mix of this movie?”
Gunn: “Well there’s no doubt, it was Adam Warlock. Like, it was really difficult… I promised Adam at the end of the other movie. The High evolutionary has created Adam’s species. That was the way in."
Gunn then explained the different moving parts of the movie such as the High Evolutionary's presence and how it relates to Warlock:
"But it was definitely– everything else was… High Evolutionary is directly related to Rocket. All of, you know, War Pig, and the Recorders Vim, and Theel, they’re directly related. So, it was the thing that was the most kind of separate that we put back into it. Except that we had also teed up Ayesha in the second movie, so we had all of that. But it was definitely the more difficult part to make a part of it.”
When asked if he felt pressure to fully showcase Warlock in Guardians 3, Gunn admitted that he did, saying that the character was supposed to debut in Vol. 2 to act as the "opposing force:"
io9: “Because I know fans have been asking you for years, even before Guardians 2, when you get the tease, like, ‘What’s going on with Adam Warlock?’ Did you feel pressure to put him in and like how close to what the final product is is what you had in your head?”
Gunn: “I think I did feel pressure to put him in this… A lot of the stuff was written for Vol. 2. Originally, Adam Warlock was in Vol. 2 and he was sort of the opposing force… I seem to always have a second force, right? So there’s like, in the first movie Yondu serves that position. He’s an alternate force. And in the second movie, Ayesha serves that position."
The DC Studios head lastly shared that Warlock and Ayesha are the "alternate force" in the movie, acknowledging that they "seemed to fit better" as said roles in Vol. 3:
"In this movie, it’s Adam and Ayesha together. So, I always had the character in mind from that movie and then he seemed to fit better in this movie than he did in that movie.”
What’s Next for the MCU’s Adam Warlock?
Introducing a new character (and an important one from Marvel Comics) is a massive task for any MCU filmmaker. That said, it's understandable that James Gunn felt pressure in taking the responsibility of showcasing Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Despite having limited screen time in the film, Will Poulter's Adam Warlock's impact is undeniable. After starting off as a powerful threat against the Guardians, Vol. 3 managed to show the character's heart and growth, ultimately landing him a spot in Rocket's new team in the end.
Gunn clearly delivered on all fronts when it came to introducing Warlock while also reminding fans that there's still more story to tell for the character.
It remains to be seen how Warlock fits in the MCU's future. There's a strong chance that the character's next appearance will be alongside Rocket's team, considering that he is a valued member of the group.
Still, Poulter expressed hopes of seeing the character alongside the Avengers in the future. This could eventually happen due to the fact that the Multiverse might be in danger in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters worldwide.