James Gunn is a bit of a rascal, isn’t he? The director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vols 1 & 2 is certainly aware that there is more than the usual amount of expectations on the upcoming third installment of his band of spacefaring misfits. Since the first movie became a surprise hit in 2014 (a surprise only because the MCU had not fully become the unstoppable box office juggernaut it is now and it was based on one of the less-known properties in the Marvel canon), the Guardians movies have been fan favorites. Their particular blend of goofy humor, space swashbuckling, and heartful emotion have made them one of the MCU’s biggest success stories, and thus James Gunn decided to troll fans a bit by posting this image on Twitter:
As James Gunn’s caption says, this is purportedly a picture of the Super director and Adam Warlock, a Marvel character to be played by Will Poulter. For a very specific kind of Marvel Comics fan, Adam Warlock is a very big deal and potentially one of the biggest swings that the MCU may be taking in their upcoming phases. As of right now, Adam Warlock has only appeared in one movie so far. Well, kind of. Here’s what we have seen of the character in a post-credits scene from James Gunn’s own Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2:
It may not give a lot of hints of what James Gunn is going to do with the character, but aside from that blurry photo completely lacking in mis-en-scene, that’s what we have. In Marvel Comics canon, Adam Warlock belongs to the subsection of characters developed in the 1970s that are incredibly important to the larger cosmic continuity of the universe and incredibly baffling to anyone not familiar with the minutiae of canon. The character was created by the power duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and debuted in an issue of Fantastic Four in 1967; however, the character was developed in greater depth in the 1970s by Roy Thomas and Jim Starlin. Since then, the character has become a significant part of many of Marvel Comics’ larger storylines. Why? Well, because he’s basically space Jesus.
James Gunn may not do exactly that with Adam Warlock, and will doubtlessly have a bit of fun with the stately, melodramatic nature of the character. In comics, he is an artificial being created to be the perfect entity, with golden skin and a set of superpowers that can only be described as “all of them.” Over the course of his decades of storylines, Adam Warlock developed into a kind of messianic figure whose soul is so pure that he cannot be claimed by even Death herself. He is particularly known for his many conflicts with Thanos, often involving the Infinity Stones (or Gems, if you’re nasty); given that the various storylines generally referred to as The Infinity Saga were streamlined for previous Phases of the MCU, it is unknown exactly what his role will be here. But it probably won’t be as blurry as that picture.