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How Guardians of the Galaxy 3's Director Ensured Will Poulter Was Right for Marvel Role (Exclusive)

Guardians of the galaxy 3, will poulter
By Liam Crowley

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may mark the end for some fan-favorite characters, but it also represents the beginning for one of Marvel Comics' most popular heroes. After being teased in the post credits scene of 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Adam Warlock will finally make his live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in James Gunn's threequel as played by Will Poulter.

Touted as one of the most sought after roles in Hollywood, Gunn recently ended the search when he cast the Bandersnatch star. The 28-year-old actor is known for his work in comedies like We're The Millers, young adult franchises like Maze Runner, and Academy Award-nominated films like The Revenant.

Bringing in Poulter was met with surprise, but it wasn't a decision director James Gunn made lightly.

Molly Quinn's Big Conversation with James Gunn

Will Poulter, Guardians of the Galaxy 3
Marvel

It's been four years since Adam Warlock was first name-dropped in the MCU, and it sounds like Marvel Studios took every one of those 1,621 days to ensure a perfect casting for the Omega-level hero.

Speaking with The Direct's Liam Crowley, Agnes star and executive producer Molly Quinn revealed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn reached out to her and a few other acquaintances about her former We're The Millers co-star, Will Poulter, before he was officially cast as the MCU's Adam Warlock:

"James, he did ask me how my experience working with Will was. I think he asked a couple of other people as well, because James is great and is always checking everyone's references. He wants to work with his friends, and if he's working with new people, he wants them to become friends. I only had glowing things to say about Will."

Quinn and Poulter acted opposite each other for multiple scenes in 2013's We're The Millers, and even shared a kiss at the film's end.

As a long-time friend of Gunn's, Quinn noted the acclaimed director would often ask her about certain actors who are in the running for his upcoming projects. Quinn admitted she doesn't always answer, but when it came to Poulter, she couldn't follow up quicker:

"Normally, when James asks me about this or that actor, I'll let it go. I don't follow up. But I was so excited that he was asking about Will that a couple days later I was like, 'Who got it?! Was it Will?!' And he was like, 'Yeah, it's Will.' I couldn't be happier for him and I hope they have an amazing time filming."

An Omega-Level Casting Process

Marvel Studios auditions thousands of actors for their biggest roles, even if they have acclaimed actors in the running. Despite all of his accomplishments in his decade plus of filmography credits, Poulter is still a rookie in the massive franchise that is the MCU.

Regardless, A-list talent often find their way into Marvel projects based on name value alone. Marvel President Kevin Feige has emphasized that he envisioned Hailee Steinfeld in the Kate Bishop role before Hawkeye even began casting. Poulter found himself in a unique spot because, as Quinn mentions, Gunn "wants to work with his friends."

This doesn't write off actors from Gunn-led projects, but it does require them to connect with the director beyond being colleagues. As evidenced by the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise as well as this summer's The Suicide Squad, the method to Gunn's madness works. Receiving a glowing stamp of approval from a former co-star like Quinn only puts Poulter in the best position to succeed for many years to come.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is currently filming. Quinn can be seen starring in Agnes, which is out in theaters and VOD.