'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' star Chukwudi Iwuji wants you to hate his villain (2024)

'You needed a character that would do this to a helpless animal,' actor says of his sad*stic High Evolutionary

Get the latest from Mark Daniell straight to your inbox

Author of the article:

Mark Daniell

Published May 12, 20233 minute read

Join the conversation
'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' star Chukwudi Iwuji wants you to hate his villain (1)

If you’ve already watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in theatres, Chukwudi Iwuji knows you likely really disliked his villainous character.

Advertisem*nt 2

Story continues below

This advertisem*nt has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' star Chukwudi Iwuji wants you to hate his villain (2)

THIS CONTENT IS RESERVED FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY

Subscribe now to read the latest news in your city and across Canada.

  • Unlimited online access to articles from across Canada with one account.
  • Get exclusive access to the Toronto Sun ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition that you can share, download and comment on.
  • Enjoy insights and behind-the-scenes analysis from our award-winning journalists.
  • Support local journalists and the next generation of journalists.
  • Daily puzzles including the New York Times Crossword.

SUBSCRIBE TO UNLOCK MORE ARTICLES

Subscribe now to read the latest news in your city and across Canada.

  • Unlimited online access to articles from across Canada with one account.
  • Get exclusive access to the Toronto Sun ePaper, an electronic replica of the print edition that you can share, download and comment on.
  • Enjoy insights and behind-the-scenes analysis from our award-winning journalists.
  • Support local journalists and the next generation of journalists.
  • Daily puzzles including the New York Times Crossword.

REGISTER / SIGN IN TO UNLOCK MORE ARTICLES

Create an account or sign in to continue with your reading experience.

  • Access articles from across Canada with one account.
  • Share your thoughts and join the conversation in the comments.
  • Enjoy additional articles per month.
  • Get email updates from your favourite authors.

Don't have an account? Create Account

or

View more offers

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Try refreshing your browser, or
tap here to see other videos from our team.

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' star Chukwudi Iwuji wants you to hate his villain Back to video

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Try refreshing your browser, or
tap here to see other videos from our team.

In fact, if you wanted to strangle the High Evolutionary, he’s actually kind of pleased because that is exactly the reaction the Nigerian-British actor was going for.

Article content

“He doesn’t seek to be understood, and we ride that to the very end,” Iwuji, 48, tells Postmedia in an interview. “I think that’s a big separation from other awesome villains that we’ve had so far in the Marvel universe.”

Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn tapped Iwuji for the role after they worked together on DC’s Peacemaker series. With his addition, Iwuji joins a rogues’ gallery that includes such great actors as Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger in Black Panther), Cate Blanchett (Hela, the Goddess of Death, in Thor: Ragnarok), Josh Brolin (Thanos in the Infinity Saga) and many more.

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' star Chukwudi Iwuji wants you to hate his villain (3)

Your Midday Sun

Your noon-hour look at what's happening in Toronto and beyond.

By signing up you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc.

Article content

Advertisem*nt 3

Story continues below

This advertisem*nt has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

As the movie’s main antagonist, we learn through a series of flashbacks that it was Iwuji’s High Evolutionary who was responsible for creating the Guardians’ Rocket through a series of horrific experiments while he was being kept hostage as an animal prisoner. The High Evolutionary resurfaces in the new film in a bid to reclaim Rocket as he continues work on animals and children in a bid to create “the perfect society.”

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' star Chukwudi Iwuji wants you to hate his villain (4)

“James has always said this whole trilogy was about Rocket,” Iwuji says. “The fact is, amongst the laughs and great action scenes, if you go back and look at the first film, you see things that have been done on Rocket’s back. In the second one, he’s having an argument with Drax and he says, ‘I didn’t ask to be made like this.’”

Advertisem*nt 4

Story continues below

This advertisem*nt has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

So Rocket’s story has always been a tragic one, emphasizes Iwuji, who has also starred in John Wick: Chapter Two and TV’s Underground Railroad and Designated Survivor.

“We haven’t faced that full-on, but it was always going to be there. So you needed a character that would do this to a helpless animal. It had to be someone as cruel as the High Evolutionary to create this version of Rocket that the world sees.”

Instead of leaning on some of the Marvel villains that have come before, Iwuji says that his take on the High Evolutionary, a character that was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s, was influenced by some of cinema’s great baddies.

“I’ve always been drawn to villains in movies in general. Some of my favourite actors have played great movie villains — Gary Oldman as Dracula, Gary Oldman in Fifth Element, Gary Oldman in Leon,” he says with a laugh. “But also Alan Rickman and Peter O’Toole and Denzel (Washington).”

Advertisem*nt 5

Story continues below

This advertisem*nt has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' star Chukwudi Iwuji wants you to hate his villain (5)

In other interviews, Iwuji has described the High Evolutionary as a complex character that’s part Dr. Moreau, part Dr. Frankenstein, part James Bond villain and part Thanos. “He has a complete disinterest in gaining the audience’s sympathy or empathy,” Iwuji says.

Iwuji’s co-star Sean Gunn, who performs the motion-capture scenes for Rocket and voices him as a baby, says someone capable of such extreme evil was the perfect foil for the Guardians’ final outing.

“I knew Rocket’s backstory in the first movie. All the things the audience is seeing now, in 2023, are things James told me about in 2013,” Gunn says in a separate interview. “Knowing that his backstory is the centre of this movie is something that I expected.”

Advertisem*nt 6

Story continues below

This advertisem*nt has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Try refreshing your browser, or
tap here to see other videos from our team.

Gunn says the High Evolutionary is “such an interesting character” to bring Rocket’s story full-circle and offer closure for the wisecracking hero.

“Chukwudi’s performance of High Evolutionary is maybe my favourite in the entire film,” Gunn says. “He’s a magnificent villain that is fully realized. He’s not a good guy.”

Despite the High Evolutionary’s early appearance in a 1966 issue of Mighty Thor and later high-profile battles against Marvel’s Avengers, Iwuji wasn’t familiar with his many exploits. But he is thrilled to be the first actor to realize him on the big screen.

“Now I’m part of this legacy,” Iwuji says, referring to the 15-year long Marvel Cinematic Universe. “I’m still trying to process it two years on. I don’t know how I got here.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theatres.

mdaniell@postmedia.com

Recommended from Editorial

  1. Chris Pratt and James Gunn talk 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3', Marvel's first F-bomb and that awful screen-test
  2. 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' director James Gunn: ‘The story ends with Vol. 3’

Article content

Comments

You must be logged in to join the discussion or read more comments.

Create an AccountSign in

Join the Conversation

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion. Please keep comments relevant and respectful. Comments may take up to an hour to appear on the site. You will receive an email if there is a reply to your comment, an update to a thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information.

Trending

  1. Auston Matthews explains why he was out of Maple Leafs lineup
  2. Pelley, Shanahan, Treliving will all attend Maple Leafs news conference on Friday
  3. SUNshine Girl Cynthia
  4. SUNshine Girl KayDee
  5. 'The Fall Guy' flop leaves Ryan Gosling's sequel dreams in doubt

Read Next

Latest National Stories

    This Week in Flyers

    'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' star Chukwudi Iwuji wants you to hate his villain (2024)

    References

    Top Articles
    Latest Posts
    Article information

    Author: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

    Last Updated:

    Views: 6444

    Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

    Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: Mrs. Angelic Larkin

    Birthday: 1992-06-28

    Address: Apt. 413 8275 Mueller Overpass, South Magnolia, IA 99527-6023

    Phone: +6824704719725

    Job: District Real-Estate Facilitator

    Hobby: Letterboxing, Vacation, Poi, Homebrewing, Mountain biking, Slacklining, Cabaret

    Introduction: My name is Mrs. Angelic Larkin, I am a cute, charming, funny, determined, inexpensive, joyous, cheerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.