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Guardians Of The Galaxy 3’s Chukwudi Iwuji Talks High Evolutionary’s Motivations And How Working On The Marvel Movie Differed From Peacemaker

Earlier this year, Chukwudi Iwuji, who’s appeared in projects like Doctor Who and John Wick: Chapter 2, was propelled to new heights of fame when he starred as Clemson Murn in The Suicide Squad spinoff series Peacemaker. While things didn’t end well for Murn on the HBO Max show, it was just the start of Iwuji’s collaboration with filmmaker James Gunn. The actor was cast in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to play the High Evolutionary, and CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell got to speak with Iwuji about his character’s motivations and how working on Vol. 3 differed from his time on Peacemaker.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was one of the Marvel movies that were highlighted at San Diego Comic-Con during the Marvel Studios panel, and along with Vol. 3 footage teasing Rocket Raccoon’s origins and more being shown exclusively to attendees, Chukwudi Iwuji appeared costumed and in character as the High Evolutionary. After the panel, Iwuji chatted with Sen O’Connell about the third Guardians movie, first saying the following about what’s motivating this newcomer to the MCU:

I think in his head he believes he’s doing the best thing for humankind, which all sort of narcissists and sociopaths do. They don’t really think they’re doing anything wrong and they feel entitled to do what they do. So in many ways… there’s weirdly [an] attraction about him because he’s hugely intelligent and unusually charismatic, but… he’s a complete piece of shit. And that combination is always fun to play, right? And always fun to watch because do you love him? Do you hate him? How much do you hate him? How much do you love him? Do you find yourself being drawn to that?

Going off the above description, as well as Chukwudi Iwuji describing his then-unknown character as being “powerful” and “deeply complex,” it sounds like High Evolutionary could fill the role of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’s main antagonist quite nicely. And while High Evolutionary may believe that what he’s doing for the greater good, Iwuji made it perfectly clear that this character is pretty despicable, which will have audiences feeling paradoxically about him. Although Vol. 3 marks High Evolutionary’s first live-action appearance, he has appeared in various animated shows over the years, including the ‘90s X-Men show, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Guardians of the Galaxy (which isn’t part of the MCU continuity).

High Evolutionary also provided Chukwudi Iuwji the opportunity to play an established comic book character, as James Gunn created Clemson Murn for Peacemaker, which is returning for another season. Iwuji stated that while there’s nothing that the High Evolutionary and Murn share in common, just like with Peacemaker, Gunn chiefly focused on character for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In the actor’s words:

Well with this character, [he’s] so different to anything that was in Peacemaker, and I think James… because he wrote most of it without ever having met me, and then tweaked some things after he met me. And I think this guy is very different. There’s nothing of Murn that I played in Peacemaker in this guy, apart from me playing it. And that’s what James can do. He can hit you emotionally, make you laugh and stuff, but his strength is really character. People think because of the genre and it’s so funny, it’s all about plot… But James focuses on character, and this character was so unique. He came to me straight away as soon as I read the script. So for me, it was a completely different beast from Peacemaker.

Other newcomers joining Chukwudi Iwuji in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 include Will Poulter as Adam Warlock and Maria Bakalova as Cosmo the Spacedog, as well as Daniela Melchior and Nico Santos in undisclosed roles. Along with the main lineup of Guardians returning, we’ll also reunite with people like Sylvester Stallone’s Stakar Ogord and Elizabeth Debicki’s Ayesha. The threequel will be the final installment of James Gunn’s run with the Guardians of the Galaxy, although that doesn’t mean that some of the characters couldn’t appear in other upcoming Marvel movies down the line.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens in theaters on May 5, 2023, but before that, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is due out in December. You’ll be able to watch that with a Disney+ subscription, just like the Guardians’ past MCU adventures (except for Thor: Love and Thunder, which is still playing in theaters).

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.