Will Poulter is MCU Adam Warlock in GoTG Vol. 3

Will Poulter has been officially cast as Marvel’s cosmic wanderer Adam Warlock for 2023’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.


At the end of Marvel Studios’ 2017 film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, an end credits scene teased the arrival of cosmic superhero Adam Warlock. Although the tease did not come to fruition in any of the later MCU movies since then, it seems GOTG Vol. 3 will finally bring the character to life on the big screen with the official casting of Will Poulter in the role.

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Will Poulter is cast as the MCU's Adam Warlock for GOTG Vol. 3. (Images: Marvel/Disney, 20th Century Fox)

Check out the details of the casting and what director James Gunn had to say.

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Who is Adam Warlock?

First appearing in Fantastic Four #66 (June, 1967), Adam Warlock was created by comic book legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Originally named only as Him, he was the result of an experiment to create the perfect being by a group of corrupt scientists called the Enclave. Their creation was a gleaming gold-skinned humanoid male with vast cosmic powers. However, the Enclave did not anticipate Him to sense their evil intent and choose to defy it. Thus, Him fought against his creators and escaped.

Him would later encounter the Asgardians Thor and Lady Sif. Thor nearly killed Him for trying to abduct Lady Sif. He recovered from his injuries by hibernating into a cocoon. The High Evolutionary would name him Warlock and present him with the Soul Gem to serve as protector of Counter-Earth, an artificially created duplicate made by the High Evolutionary to experiment on the viability of a utopian world.

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Adam Warlock first appeared as the perfect being in a cocoon created by the Enclave. (Art: Jack Kirby/Joe Sinnott)

On Counter-Earth, Warlock fought against another creation of the High Evolutionary: the Man-Beast. It would be during his adventures in Counter-Earth that he would acquire the name Adam, given by Ellie Roberts, one of the teenagers he saves and befriends in that world. Adam Warlock would continue to have adventures in Counter-Earth.

Adam Warlock would have many adventures in outer space, including a war against his evil future self called The Magus and battling the Mad Titan Thanos alongside the Avengers. It was in battle against Thanos that Adam Warlock seemingly met his end, with his spirit becoming one with the Soul Gem, but not before turning Thanos into solid granite.

He would be peacefully spending his existence in Soul World along with his friends, Pip and Gamora, for many years until a new threat emerged. This threat would be Thanos claiming all six of the Infinity Gems and creating the Infinity Gauntlet. As Thanos wiped out half of the universe’s population in a single snap of his fingers, Adam Warlock and his friends returned into corporeality. It is through Adam Warlock’s intervention that the remaining heroes were able to mount a counter-offensive.

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Adam Warlock was one of the central figures in the Infinity Gauntlet story and its sequels. (Art: Ron Lim/George Perez)

Adam claimed the Infinity Gauntlet, restoring the lives and damage Thanos caused. However, powerful cosmic entities such as Galactus, Eternity, Lord Chaos and Master Order, and such requested the Living Tribunal to force Adam to give it up and separate the gems once more. It would be during this time that Adam would form the Infinity Watch with Gamora, Pip, Drax the Destroyer, and Moondragon, a team of heroes that proactively protects the universe.

After the Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock would again headline the sequels Infinity War and Infinity Crusade. Later on, he would form a new version of the Guardians of the Galaxy with such heroes as Quasar, Nova, and Star-Lord. Adam Warlock would remain a constant fixture in Marvel Comics events that involved cosmic level menaces, often involving the Infinity Gems.

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MCU Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and beyond

Ever since Thanos was revealed in the post-credit scene of the first Avengers movie in 2012, fans familiar with the comic books had been anticipating the live action arrival of his classic rival, Adam Warlock. Although Thanos actually first appeared as an arch-enemy of Iron Man, Adam Warlock was more closely associated with the Mad Titan, thanks the Infinity series of storylines.

The first confirmation of Adam Warlock in the MCU is in the post-credit scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). Although the hero would not actually appear, Ayesha (played by Elizabeth Debicki) presented her entourage with the revelation of a hibernating cocoon that contained Adam (although without the Warlock part of his name). Rumors began to spread that Adam Warlock would play a key role in the conclusion of MCU’s Phase Three in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

This proved to be false. Plans for Adam Warlock were postponed until the next Guardians of the Galaxy sequel as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four.

Casting Will Poulter

On Monday, October 11, 2021, Marvel Studios broke the news that casting for Adam Warlock was confirmed for actor Will Poulter.

Poulter is no stranger to pop culture genre roles, having played parts in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), The Maze Runner (2014), Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018), and Midsommar (2019). Poulter has also appeared in the Netflix Black Mirror story Bandersnatch. Poulter beat out other actors for the role, including Netflix’s Bridgerton actor, Rege-Jean Page.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 writer and director James Gunn, who also recently did The Suicide Squad for the DCEU, confirmed the casting of Poulter in the role of Adam Warlock. As Gunn shared in his social media accounts:

Welcome to the Guardians family, Will Poulter. He’s an amazing actor and wonderful guy. See you in a couple weeks.

The actor responded in kind through Twitter, thanking the director and expressing his excitement for the role:

Thank you, James. It’s a genuine honour to play this role and to work with you. I’m very excited to get to work.

Gunn also confirms that the filming for GOTG Vol. 3 will begin this November, and projected for at least a 6 month schedule. So far, there is very little that has been revealed about the plot and story in the GOTG sequel, other than it will occur after the events of other MCU Phase Four projects such as Eternals, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. There is some speculation that it will center on Gamora and Nebula, as the current living Gamora is a variant from an alternate timeline.

Could the events lead to Adam Warlock forming a new Guardians of the Galaxy or the MCU version of the Infinity Watch? With the MCU expanding to multiverse territory through Loki, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, more appearances of the cosmic superhero would fit right in.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 stars Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Dave Bautista (Drax), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon), Vin Diesel (Groot), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha), Will Poulter (Adam Warlock), Sean Gunn (Kraglin Obfonteri), Sylvester Stallone (Stakar Ogord), Ving Rhames (Charlie-27), and Andrew Bachelor (role to be announced).

Written and directed by James Gunn, the thirty-third MCU film warps into theathers on May 5, 2023.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.