Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Will Feature A 'Newborn' Adam Warlock, Says Will Poulter

In the original "Infinity Gauntlet" story — the Marvel Comics crossover event that was first published in July of 1991 — the character of Adam Warlock played a key role. In the comics version of the story, Thanos, already in possession of the Infinity Gems (not Stones in the comics), snapped half of the universe out of existence right at the beginning of the story, and the remaining heroes had to find way to undo his damage. In the comics, it's revealed that one of the Gems, the Soul Gem, contains its own miniature dimension, and Adam Warlock had been hiding inside of it. He escaped, and it would be Adam Warlock to lead the charge against Thanos. At the end of "The Infinity Gauntlet," Adam Warlock would take possession of the Gems himself. 

As long ago as 2017, the MCU was poised to include Adam Warlock. He was pitched as a character in James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2," and ended up appearing in a post-credits stinger for that film, albeit while still trapped inside a sarcophagus-like incubator. Adam Warlock was created in 1967 as a character named simply Him, in a "Frankenstein"-like story. In the comics, Him was created in an Earth incubator to be the ideal version of the human form. Finding humanity lacking, the shirtless, gold-skinned Him eventually flew into space. In 1972, Him was given the name Adam Warlock and he became the figurehead of a subsection of the Marvel universe devoted to freaked-out, philosophy-forward, cosmic adventures. 

In a recent interview with ScreenRant, actor Will Poulter — set to play Warlock in "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3" — clarified that the version of the character he'll be playing will be less like the space-ace thinker Warlock, and more like the shirtless Him. 

A new origin

In "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2," Adam Warlock was created not by scientists on Earth, but by a species of gold-skinned aliens called The Sovereign People, specifically by a high priestess named Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). The motivation for creating him remains the same: Warlock will be an attempt to artificially build a perfect being. The Sovereign People had been genetically perfecting themselves for years anyway, and their staid, serious personalities were, in "Vol. 2," played for laughs; The Guardians, in true Marvel fashion, are all incorrigible wiseacres. 

Gunn, whose films skew toward the irreverent, will no doubt include numerous jokes at Adam Warlock's expense in "Vol. 3." But actor Poulter feels that Gunn allowed him the opportunity to explore Warlock's humanity as well, making explicit that this will be the character's origin story. He told ScreenRant: 

"The first thing to confront is that I am very, very far from perfect. I think one of the cool things about this character is that James certainly allowed me to kind of explore Adam's imperfections as well, while he orientates himself. He's in his infancy at this point of the story, so he's really trying to [orient] himself in this world as effectively a newborn."

When tasked with playing a "perfect being," the challenge remains to find humanity in them. Poulter's handle, his way into the character, will focus on the fact that Warlock will be inexperienced. 

More on Warlock

Him was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, but the Adam Warlock iteration was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Keane. In a 2009 issue of BackIssue! Magazine, Thomas admitted that in the early 1970s he was obsessed with the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical "Jesus Christ Superstar," and wanted to include a Marvel Comics-ready version of Christ into his work. Not in a religious paradigm, but in a storytelling sense. Adam Warlock's stern morality is his central feature, along with his abilities to capture the souls of the living and incorporate them into his own. A rock 'n' roll version of Warlock also once appeared in the short-lived "Silver Surfer" animated series from the late '90s.

Briefly, Adam Warlock was the leader of a superhero team called The Infinity Watch, whose job it was to protect the Infinity Gems from potential thieves and interlopers like Thanos. Each member of the team carried a single Gem, with Warlock leaving the Soul Gem in his forehead. Incidentally, Gamora was given the Time Gem, Drax the Destroyer was given the Power Gem, Pip the Troll was given the Space Gem, and a character unseen in the MCU, Moondragon, was given the Mind Gem. The Reality Gem — the most dangerous one — was entrusted to a dubiously trustworthy Thanos (who was not murdered by Iron Man in the comics). 

Given that Marvel just introduced a sizeable empty slate of movies for their planned Phase 6, audiences can now begin speculating if a "Warlock and the Infinity Watch" feature film is on the horizon.