James Gunn Reveals Why Tom Cruise Wasn’t Cast as Guardians 3 Character

Tom Cruise, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
By Russ Milheim Posted:

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 director James Gunn revealed why he didn't cast someone like Tom Cruise in the role of Adam Warlock for the MCU, who instead will be brought to life by Will Poulter.

The introduction to Adam Warlock has been in the works for a long while. In fact, the big moment was set up at the end of 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2–only six years later will the payoff arrive.

Back in 2021, it was revealed that Midsommar actor Will Poulter would be playing the iconic character. However, he wasn’t the first choice many fans suggested—lots of people thought someone like Tom Cruise could be a perfect choice.

In response to casting suggestions for the Top Gun: Maverick star as Adam Warlock, director James Gunn noted that "it would be weird for Ayesha to create the perfect man as someone in his mid-fifties.”

The filmmaker recently further elaborated on why he made the casting decisions he did in a new conversation regarding the upcoming blockbuster.

Not Making Tom Cruise an Infant

Will Poulter as Adam Warlock
Marvel

In an interview with Empire Online, James Gunn, the director behind the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and the recently released Holiday Special, spoke on the casting of Will Poulter as Adam Warlock.

The director first started off by making it clear that Warlock's role in the story is "more complicated" than just being a villain to the film's group of heroes:

“It’s kind of more complicated than that... But he’s definitely not a good guy. What we’re seeing is the infant form of Warlock, newly out of the cocoon, and he does not understand life very well. He’s basically a baby.”

As for why Gunn didn't choose to hire an actor such as Tom Cruise, he noted that he "wanted the person who had dramatic chops and comedic chops:"

“People online were saying, ‘Oh, Tom Cruise should be Adam Warlock... I wanted somebody who was youthful, and I wanted the person who had the dramatic chops and the comedic chops, not only for this movie but for what Marvel will use Adam Warlock for in the future... He could become this really important character."

A Baby Adam Warlock

When it comes to casting decisions, it’s probably best to trust what the filmmakers and Marvel Studios decide.

While fans won't know how Poulter performs in the role for a few months, the actor is excited to be in the role. Previously, he noted that he’s “a huge fan of the tone and creativity of James Gunn’s work” and how the whole experience is “very, very cool for [him].”

So what exactly will this immature Warlock look like? Well, knowing Gunn’s style of comedy, Poulter’s performance will likely be pretty literal. Meaning the character could be a lot more immature than fans expect.

However, having a man-baby embodying the iconic character will certainly be an interesting choice.

For anybody worried, it’s clear that Adam Warlock will go on to do important things in the MCU. So if this “baby” isn’t what one imagined, the hero will likely evolve into a more complex, comic-accurate character over time.

As for those wanting Tom Cruise in the MCU, there's always still the possibility of him hopping aboard to portray that Tony Stark Variant everyone wants to see. Maybe in Avengers: Secret Wars?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5.