Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's Adam Warlock post-credits scene risked being cut. James Gunn's sequel to his breakout hit laid a lot of groundwork for the MCU's cosmic future. As well as advancing the core team of a-holes ahead of meeting the Avengers in Infinity War, we got to meet the original comic book team in live-action, saw the Celestials gain a foothold in the universe and, of course, finally had confirmation of that long-standing Stan Lee theory.
Although by far the most exciting was Adam Warlock. The Marvel icon showed up in the third of the movie's five post-credits scenes, the creation of Ayesha and Sovereign in a bit to wipe out the Guardians. It was a short reveal of just the character's cocoon and his first name, but after previously being teased in the original film back in 2014 it was a long-awaited confirmation of his existence in the MCU. However, it almost never came to be.
Speaking with Cinema Blend, James Gunn talked about the post-credit scene and how he had to fight with Marvel Studios higher ups over its inclusion, specifically in regards to how it would influence fan expectation for his full introduction:
"I had to fight for Adam in the post-credits sequence. Because I really thought that's where that should go. And I thought one of the main reasons to have the Sovereign in the movie was to give audiences the hint that Adam Warlock is coming. That was one of the reasons for them to exist. And I wrote that post-credits sequence in the first draft of the script. And then there were a lot of questions about whether or not we should put that in there, because people were going to expect Adam Warlock in Infinity War. So one of the things I promised - which I do all of the time on Twitter - is letting everyone know that Adam Warlock is not going to be in Avengers 3 or Avengers 4. It's just not going to happen. Because I didn't want people to have false expectations of what they thought was going to happen with Adam."
He may have been first introduced in the late 1960s as a Fantastic Four villain, but Adam is best known for his standalone cosmic adventures and specifically essential role in Infinity Gauntlet, the crossover event that is in part influencing next year's Avengers: Infinity War. Due to that connection, many had already expected Warlock to appear in the Russo's mammoth team-up, something that evidently was never the plan and Marvel were worried about accidentally teasing. As he alludes to, this explains why even before Vol. 2's release Gunn made very clear the character wasn't going to turn up again until Guardians Vol. 3.
Between this and the fact Gunn once considered having Warlock in Vol. 2, it would seem that Marvel Studios mandate on the character is rather slight. Conversely, it highlights how essential a role the director has in the MCU's cosmic arm; with Vol. 3 cited as setting up a raft of future movies it was always assumed he had a key voice, but this shows he has such a level of ownership he's able to pretty much dictate an essential character's introduction.
Adam Warlock will no doubt be very much on Gunn's mind at the moment given that the writer-director is now well into development of his debut film, with the latest word being that the film will shoot next year. Casting rumors are sure to fire up soon.
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018