As Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 prepares for its long-awaited release next summer, fans are preparing for what should be another iconic MCU villain fighting the team.
Following his work with director James Gunn on DC's Peacemaker, Chukwudi Iwuji will take his talents to the MCU to play the High Evolutionary, which was confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con 2022. The acclaimed star will follow Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser (Vol. 1) and Kurt Russell's Ego the Living Planet (Vol. 2), hoping to become the most terrifying entity that the MCU's space misfits have ever faced before.
Rumors had circulated about the High Evolutionary being the main villain of Guardians 3 for quite some time, with Gunn and his team now in high gear working to complete the film in post-production. With fans having gotten a look at the movie's first trailer at Comic-Con, Iwuji's villain was one of the biggest highlights as the footage showed just a hint of how terrifying he will be in this new story.
Now, with the threequel making its way toward its May 2023 debut, Iwuji reflected on both his experience at Comic-Con and what's about to come with his incredibly powerful new villain.
Guardians 3 Actor Teases Epic Main Villain
In a chat with Collider, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 star Chukwudi Iwuji gave some insight into his upcoming role as the High Evolutionary for Marvel Studios.
When asked about his costume and character, Iwuji described him as "narcissistic" and "sociopathic" while also bringing a "Shakespearean" touch to his personality. He also remembered feeling at home in the costume, noting how wearing it helped add a new dynamic to his performance:
"Shady doesn’t touch it. He is narcissistic, sociopathic, but very charming. I couldn’t have thought of a better character that uses [a] skill set better to join the MCU with. Because there’s something very Shakespearean about him, there’s something very emotionally dark about him, and he’s a lot of fun on top of all that. The costume like you mentioned, the day I put on that costume, because he looks very different from how he is in the comics, but the costume just worked. There’s something about putting it on, which I’m glad you mentioned because a big part of my performance was that costume."
Speaking with Screen Rant, Iwuji explained how the villain has "been around for eons" and boasts connections to a number of characters in this upcoming sequel. Although he's most connected to Rocket Raccoon, Iwuji teased that he negatively affects much more than just Rocket:
"Well the High Evolutionary, who’s been around for eons, is actually… he’s connected to a hell of a lot of the characters in this movie… I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about it being about Rocket specifically. But actually, he’s connected to a lot of people, so let’s just say that he affects a lot of people’s lives in a not so nice way.”
Finally, in a discussion with Entertainment Weekly, he looked back to his first time seeing the original Guardians of the Galaxy "in Times Square as a fan," not expecting to ever be a part of the universe himself. Even though he's embraced everything that James Gunn has brought to the table with his superhero movies, he admits that the moment hasn't even sunk in for him yet:
“I’m still processing that I’ve stepped into this whole world… It was crazy for me because as I’ve said before, I saw the first movie in Times Square as a fan. And you can have a perfectly successful career as an actor, never come close to being part of anything like this and, you know, that’s the reality of it. So I still pinch myself and I saw the trailer backstage before I went on and I’m watching this thing and just… there’s still something slightly surreal about the fact that we’re part of it, especially when you have this quintessentials of James Gunn moments… like when they jump out and it’s in slow motion and the music kicks in and you’re just like, ‘Oh my god.’ That thing I feel when I saw, whether it was this or Suicide Squad. I’m not just observing it now as an audience member, I’m part of it and I still haven’t quite… clicked with that, you know?”
High Evolutionary Ready to Destroy the Guardians
While the Guardians have certainly faced their fair share of intense villains, it seems that none of them will compare to what the High Evolutionary will bring to the table.
According to everybody involved, Chukwudi Iwuji had the opportunity to bring a different kind of intensity to this character, who was the main driving force behind Rocket's torturous creation in the comics. The first trailer from Comic-Con already teased that fans will see that backstory fully evolved, which should add a unique level of horror and terror to what this villain will be about upon his debut.
Of course, with nearly a year until Guardians 3 debuts in theaters, most of the High Evolutionary's story will remain a secret, especially with this movie definitively bringing the final appearance for this iteration of the Guardians. But considering everything that's already been said, Iwuji has a wonderful chance to make his mark amongst the MCU's top antagonists ever.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will debut in theaters on May 5, 2023.