The Guardians of the Galaxy are about to enjoy an extensive run in the MCU, starting with a short inclusion in July's Thor: Love and Thunder. After this intergalactic adventure and a couple of unique entries on Disney+, they'll be back for their long-awaited third solo movie with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arriving in theaters next summer.
Following encounters with villains like Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser, Kurt Russell's Ego the Living Planet, and Josh Brolin's Thanos, the Guardians will have another tough battle ahead of them this time around. Although the plot behind Guardians 3 remains under wraps for the foreseeable future, there are rumors indicating that the next big bad could be the incredibly powerful High Evolutionary.
Behind this performance will be Chukwudi Iwuji, who first worked with director James Gunn during their time together on Peacemaker for Warner Bros. Now, Iwuji looks back to that experience while teasing what fans should be looking for with his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Guardians 3 Villain Actor Teases Upcoming Role
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn took to Twitter to share his excitement for Chukwudi Iwuji's role in the movie.
Gunn shared an interview with Iwuji from Discussing Film, calling his performance "truly explosive:"
"Wait till you see Chuk murder it in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 with a truly explosive performance."
In this interview, Iwuji discussed some of the experiences he had with director James Gunn on Peacemaker, noting how Gunn "genuinely loves actors" and is always ready to take things in a new direction if needed:
"I certainly suppose he likes my work, so that’s a start. There was a sense I felt in Peacemaker like, 'They’re going to see through me. I’m going to get fired' but by the end, I understood that James loves actors. I know that sounds like an obvious thing but that’s not always the case. James genuinely loves actors. He micromanages every stage of his work and literally lives the characters he writes. James speaks to them out loud as he’s writing them. But for all that, I was very aware in Peacemaker that he’s so ready to be surprised and taken to different levels by you [the actor] if you can make it genuine. That gave me such leeway, in the sense of coming onto Guardians. The scope of it was another level up from Peacemaker, it’s as big of a movie as I’ll ever make – simple as that."
He continued praising Gunn for the way he trusts his actors and his willingness to take risks to make his work succeed on screen. With Gunn both writing and directing the story, Iwuji sees the movie as being "in very good hands" since Gunn works so hard to make sure that everything comes out the right way:
"It made me think, 'Here’s someone who trusts you as an actor, loves it when you bring something more than he ever imagined, and is ready to take big risks.' When you have those factors walking in, you know the world is your oyster in many ways. It’s as perfect a situation as you want. And because he wrote it, James is hoping that you can evolve it further than his imagination. When you have a director-writer like that, you’re in very good hands. If you were to narrow down our process, I do a take, and if he feels like it’s spot on, he’ll say, 'Great, now do whatever you want.' If he feels it’s not quite there, he won’t let me stop until I find it. If he feels it’s there, but there could be something else, we’ll keep going at it. So it’s as rigorous or as smooth sailing as it needs to be."
Iwuji also noted how much he enjoys "being directed" and wants to give everything he has in his performance, which worked quite well with the way he and Gunn like to collaborate together:
"But he knows that I’m an actor that really likes to leave it on the floor, and I really love being directed. The number of times in Guardians that we would start a scene one way, the way I felt it was written, and by the end of the scene, it would’ve flipped completely in its delivery because he saw something I brought. I heard something he directed at me that I hadn’t thought about, and then we find a completely new scene. It’s collaboration at its finest because it gives me everything I want. I need someone with very strong ideas who will be ready to direct me. But, at the same time, you eat your cake and have it too because it’s someone that wants to explore also. It wasn’t that I was just working for him, even though, technically, I was. We were really collaborating. I felt so proud. There were days I would come home to my wife, who was with me in Atlanta, and I was just so happy. I would say, 'We found something in the scene together.' That is the best feeling to ever want to have."
Guardians 3 Villain Brings Explosive Performance
After playing the mysterious role of Murn on Peacemaker, excitement began to build when he joined the cast of James Gunn's third Guardians solo movie. That anticipation built even further with the rumors saying that Iwuji would bring the High Evolutionary to life, providing the opportunity for the Guardians' next battle to be as difficult emotionally as it will be physically.
The actor himself has already teased how this character will be different from playing Murn on Peacemaker, allowing him to tap into a different kind of "extremism" with such a bigger scale in play this time around. While the specifics behind his character and the plot are still a mystery, Gunn's use of the word "explosive" should indicate just how big of an impact Iwuji will have on the Guardians franchise.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will release in theaters on May 5, 2023.