WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE POST-CREDITS SCENE OF GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 INSIDE.
When the gang traveled to see The Collector (Benicio del Toro) in Guardians of the Galaxy, eagle-eyed viewers spotted Easter eggs all over his extensive collection. But one, a caterpillar-like pod, drew lots of attention, especially after it was seen to be split open and empty after The Collector’s base was destroyed. Fans speculated it had once housed one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy. A being that is inextricably intertwined with the Infinity Gauntlet saga: Adam Warlock.
But though The Collector is powerful — an Elder of the Universe even — it felt unlikely he would be able to contain Adam Warlock behind a display case. So many wrote it off as simply a nod to the character. But Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has confirmed those theories. Adam was never in The Collector’s possession for he did not even exist yet. But he does now, thanks to The Sovereign High Priestess Ayesha. And honestly? James Gunn reconfiguring the creation of Adam to be at the hands of Ayesha is a pretty delightful thumbing of the nose at the Biblical origin that was the source material’s inspiration.
In the comics, both Adam and Ayesha are products of a group of Earth scientists known as The Enclave. They created Adam first — referring to him only as Him — but when that went sideways, the scientists went back to the drawing board and created Ayesha. The genetically perfect woman was known only as Her, because scientists aren’t poets I guess. By turning that on its head, director James Gunn now has Adam as the creation of Ayesha, instead of Ayesha’s single-minded mission in life being to find Adam Warlock and mate with him.
It’s doubtful that will be the only change to Adam Warlock’s story, but his introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a long time coming. As of this writing, no actor has yet been cast in the role, since he was merely one of the many post-credit stingers, but it’s safe to assume he’ll show up before the end of Infinity War. If things shake out badly, Warlock could even become the next Big Bad™ for Phase IV of the film franchise. But there are few pillars of Warlock’s story that will probably make the jump from comics to screen. For example:
* Adam will probably turn on his creators. One of the biggest tropes in science fiction is the hubris of scientists. They think just because they create life, they can control it. Clearly, these geniuses aren’t parents. As Adam Warlock is a hero in the comics, it seems likely Ayesha will lose control of her beloved “next step in evolution” fairly quickly.
* Adam probably has the Soul Stone. It seems like a pretty big clue that the only Infinity Stone still unaccounted for in the MCU is the one possessed by Warlock in the comics. Since the movies have discarded Adam’s Earth origins, it seems likely that The High Council whom Ayesha answers to will stand in as “The High Evolutionary” who gifts Adam with the Soul Gem. Even more tantalizing is that in the comics Adam doesn’t receive the Soul Gem until after he is bested by Thor in battle, leaving open the question as to whether or not Warlock will show up in Thor: Ragnarok in order to lay the groundwork for his character arc in Infinity War.
* Adam might turn into Magus. Okay, look. Comics are weird. In the convoluted history of Marvel, Adam Warlock once (or many times, or never, depending on the timeline) came into contact with his future evil self. Known as Magus, this alternate Adam Warlock tried to take over the universe with his Universal Church of Truth religion and even gets his evil fist on the Infinity Gauntlet. If Marvel goes this route though, it’s probably easier to just say Ayesha created another being after Adam turned out to be a disappointed rather than the convoluted idea that Magus is simply only the evil side of Adam Warlock and could be reabsorbed into himself at some point.
The rest of Adam’s long and convoluted history with Marvel could be integrated into his film counterpart or simply discarded in favor of streamlining the story for general audiences. His character might be well-known to comic book fans, but the average moviegoer has never heard of this character. With so many other plates spinning in the lead up to Infinity War, there’s no reason to overcomplicate things. The main takeaway Marvel needs to establish is that Adam Warlock is a powerful cosmic being who can help destroy Thanos. Everything else is just fan service.