Chukwudi Iwuji enjoyed playing The High Evolutionary in Guardians 3, but he can't defend the character's behavior.
Whether it’s Josh Brolin playing Thanos or Michael Shannon’s General Zod, even the most mustache-twirlingly evil villains can explain their motivation through heart-wrenching trauma in their past or a series of bad choices that led them to their current state. Even The Joker himself is quoted as saying all it would take for most people to become evil like him is one bad day in many iterations of the character. However, in a recent discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, Chukwudi Iwuji makes no such excuses for his Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 villain, stating plainly, “I can not defend him.”
In James Gunn‘s final film in the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, Chukwudi Iwuji appears as the sadistic villain known only as The High Evolutionary. In an effort to perfect society in his own eyes, The High Evolutionary engages in a number of mad science experiments on subjects including children and small animals. Unfortunately, as a deeply problematic and indefensible character, the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 antagonist really rubbed some audiences the wrong way.
In the days leading up to the film’s premiere, critics warned the masses not to bring children or animal lovers to screenings of The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 due to the graphic depictions of animal abuse shown by Iwuji’s character. Of course, the film’s ability to balance incredibly high stakes for its main characters without relying on world-destroying villains helped to keep the story grounded, with many fans and critics citing the film as the best Marvel has put out in years. This is especially notable as James Gunn himself has stressed the impact that superhero fatigue has had on audiences, as shown by the bland reception of recent Marvel outings such as Thor: Love and Thunder and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
While discussing the act of diving into the demented psyche of his Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 character, Chukwudi Iwuji stresses that he can not empathize with the character in any way due to his cruel nature while citing that the true imperfection the mad scientist seeks to destroy was inside of him all along.
When describing the ways in which The High Evolutionary is an inhuman monster, Iwuji makes parallels to real-life monsters who carried out genocides in order to cleanse that which they wrongfully believed to be imperfections in society, citing that there is absolutely no excuse for this line of reasoning.
Of course, Chukwudi Iwuji goes on to mention that performing in the role of The High Evolutionary was a gift as an actor, as demonstrated on-screen through his incredible performance. While the villain may lack some of the nuances of the greatest film antagonists of all time, the clashing ethos of The High Evolutionary with the rag-tag group of star-bound vigilantes certainly cemented the bond between the Guardians of the Galaxy in Vol 3. After working alongside James Gunn to perfect morally bankrupt characters in both this role and his recent role as Clemson Murn in Peacemaker, Iwuji hopes to see a return of his John Wick: Chapter 2 character in the near future.