Adam Warlock

Even with ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ in its second week of release, the maelstrom of fan speculation surrounding the film has yet to die down. This, of course, is thanks not only to what may well be the ballsiest ending of any comic book movie to date, but also to the fact that it is functionally the first half of a two-part story. While ‘Infinity War’ does tell a complete story, it also unmistakably sets the stage for next year’s ‘Avengers 4’.

Much of this speculation, particularly among those familiar with the comics that provided a (loose) basis for ‘Infinity War’, has centered around one character in particular: Adam Warlock. Not only does Warlock play a pivotal role in Thanos’s defeat in the 1991 ‘Infinity Gauntlet’ storyline by Jim Starlin, George Perez, and Ron Lim, but his arrival in the Marvel Cinematic Universe also been teased – and fairly recently at that. As a result, fans have been anticipating Warlock’s debut literally since the credits rolled on ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’. And while we know by now that the character ultimately didn’t feature in ‘Infinity War’, it’s hard not to wonder at what might have been.

It’s also probably best not to wonder too hard, as co-director Joe Russo explained during a Q&A at Iowa City High School that he and his brother (and co-director) Anthony never seriously considered his inclusion:

“That’s a James Gunn thing. We never intended to put Adam Warlock in ‘Infinity War’. We have so many heroes we have to service that you guys love and give them screen time, because you want to see the hero and villain have an emotional connection.”

Russo added that viewers “wouldn’t have an emotional connection” to Warlock because he “doesn’t have a connection with Thanos and built-up story.” In other words, it comes down to the fact that ‘Infinity War’ is more about paying off character arcs and plot developments that have been established over the past decade’s worth of films than introducing new elements. But that doesn’t mean the possibility was never on the table. As co-writer Christopher Markus explained to ET Online:

“Like, we didn’t introduce Adam Warlock, because it’s a massive backbend and you practically have to make an Adam Warlock movie to introduce him. He just can’t walk onscreen. So, there was a brief moment where we were like, “Ehhh…,” and then we were like… (He points to the movie’s poster.) We have that many characters already!”

And that would more or less seem to settle that. While it’s not impossible that Adam Warlock could appear in ‘Avengers 4’, it seems unlikely, given that that film – like ‘Infinity War’ – comes with a pretty jam-packed cast (yes, even after that ending). Given that fact and Russo’s remark that the matter is “a James Gunn thing”… well, do the math. That’s as close to an official confirmation that we’re likely to get (at least for the time being) that Warlock is most likely going to be introduced in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’.

Directed by the Russo brothers from a script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ marks the culmination of a decade-long effort by Marvel Studios and sees the Avengers team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to take on Thanos. The film counts Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olson, Sebastian Stan, and three gentlemen named “Chris” among its gargantuan cast. The long-awaited movie is in theaters now, while ‘Avengers 4’ is set to arrive on May 3, 2019.