With the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU’s) Phase 4 finally coming to a close with “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, now comes the age of Phase 5. Right after we’re done with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” looking down into the Quantum Realm, we’ll be gazing up at “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” as Director James Gunn concludes his heartwarming, gut-busting, laser-blasting space trilogy!
Now, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” holds a special place in our hearts with its surprisingly mature and nuanced take on familial trauma, fatherhood and relationships. Under all of our heroes’ chaotic energy is a lot of pain and loss, which we’ll hopefully see resolved in “Vol .3”. Gunn has been taking something of a hiatus since 2017 but after making his glorious return to the MCU with “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special”, he’s going all out one last time to finish the job.
This time, he’s bringing a rather interesting new enemy for the Guardians to face, or an old one for one particular team member: the High Evolutionary. Beyond having a killer name, the High Evolutionary also has dastardly plans for our heroes and we’re breaking down how this mad scientist could bring about the end of our beloved team!
Who is the High Evolutionary?
In the comics, Herbert Edgar Wyndham, better known as the High Evolutionary is a scientist and geneticist obsessed with creating the perfect lifeform. Some of his twisted experiments include turning animals into humanoid creatures called the New Men, tampering with the genes of Pietro and Wanda Maximoff and empowering the superhuman being Adam Warlock! The High Evolutionary is incredibly sadistic and insanely brilliant so you bet the Guardians are going to have a hard time trying to take him down.
Before Herbert became the High Evolutionary though, he was a scientist from England who was inspired by the works of one Nathaniel Essex. Side note: Nathaniel Essex is also another maniacal genius who took a particular interest in mutants and has clashed with the X-Men on several occasions. He goes by the moniker Mr Sinister. Anyway, through the influence of an Inhuman, Herbert was given the secrets of genetic manipulation and he soon went mad with power. Now, we’ve seen our fair share of evil geniuses in the MCU from Armin Zola to Norman Osborn to Mysterio. The High Evolutionary, though is on a whole other level.
He’s a man who is obsessed with the idea of biological evolution with his experiments using a mixture of both technology and magic, such as when he infused the power of the Soul Gem (known as the Soul Stone in the MCU) into Warlock. Those animal people we saw in the trailer are probably also the High Evolutionary’s creations that he placed on a planet called Counter-Earth. There are no moral lines the High Evolutionary won’t cross in the name of progress. So if the Guardians are going up against this guy, they’re in serious trouble. But there’s more to the High Evolutionary than just his brains, he’s also the key to finally giving closure to the Guardians. The High Evolutionary is played by Chukwudi Iwuji who was also in James Gunn’s “Peacemaker” TV series.
Rocket Raccoon’s Past Revealed
In the first “Guardians of the Galaxy”, we learned that Rocket was a byproduct of experimentation by alien scientists from the Halfworld planet in the Keystone Quadrant star system. For years, he was tortured and painfully altered into the loudmouth, gun-slinging mercenary we see today. The reason for Rocket’s self-centred and short-tempered disposition is because of the trauma he suffered for years as an ordinary animal being forced to become something more. He views himself as unnatural and therefore unworthy of love and friendship, that’s why he pushes people away. Throughout the “Infinity Saga”, we’ve seen each member of the Guardians come to terms with their past.
Starlord, or Peter Quill, made peace with the loss of his mother by killing his father Ego the Living Planet and learning to love his adoptive father Yondu. Mantis has broken free from her servitude to Ego. Gamora and Nebula are now free from their cruel father Thanos. Drax avenged his wife and daughter with the death of Ronan the Accuser. Groot is well Groot so there’s that. The only one left is Rocket who must now confront the one responsible for who he is today: the High Evolutionary.
While the High Evolutionary isn’t the cause of Rocket’s pain in the comics, it seems that the MCU has decided to make him the one who brought about Rocket’s forced evolution. Honestly, it makes perfect sense that the High Evolutionary would have something to do with Rocket’s transformation, seeing that he probably also experimented on Adam Warlock as he did in the comics. Which begs the next question: How will the High Evolutionary and the Guardians end Gunn’s trilogy?
The Final Fight and Farewell
We imagine that Warlock will initially fight the Guardians seeing that he belongs to the Sovereign (the golden we saw in “Vol. 2”). The High Evolutionary and the Sovereign would have manipulated Warlock into thinking the Guardians are his enemy but eventually, the gang will help him break free of his programming with Warlock, the Guardians and Gamora’s Ravagers teaming up to take down the Sovereign, the High Evolutionary and his minions.
The Guardians will then free the animal people and defeat the High Evolutionary. Then, they’ll say their goodbyes and part ways…at least until the next big crossover event. You know, the usual MCU affair. What we’re really wondering here though is whether or not Gunn’s going to kill off any members of the Guardians. And we don’t mean that total fakeout with Groot sacrificing himself for the team only to have him come back as sapling nonsense. Mark our words: somebody will die by the end of “Vol. 3”.
If we had to take a guess, our best bet would be that Rocket’s former partner and lover Lylla will be the one to bite it. Lylla is an anthropomorphic otter whom Rocket shares a deep bond with. She was his partner-in-crime before Groot and his lover as well. Most likely, she also suffered the same horrific experimentation under the High Evolutionary. If this film is a Rocket-centred story, then having someone close to Rocket like Lylla die would be a heart-wrenching and tragic moment for the raccoon.
Another possibility is that Rocket himself dies by the end of the film! Rocket has spent the better part of his life looking out for himself so to have him sacrifice his life to save the team would be an awesome and emotional way to end his story arc. Not a dry eye in the room. A powerful and beautiful death to close the “Guardians of the Galaxy” trilogy.
So what do you guys think of the High Evolutionary? Do you think he’ll make for a good villain? Do you think Rocket will die? Be sure to let us know in the comments on our socials!