BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
There is a huge mystery surrounding Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and the gossip is that another major character is about to be introduced into the MCU.
It has become a rite of passage for every new Marvel entry. With each new movie and series, they intrigue builds, and we are left to wonder what new faces we will see. For comic collectors, this is more than fun - it can be big business if you guess correctly because the secondary market is driven by the MCU. Once an official announcement rolls around, a character’s key issues will spike. If you played your cards right, you are in for quick profits while the rest of the world is scrambling.
Enter: Chukwudi Iwuji. The actor famous for his roles in the John Wick franchise and HBO Max’s Peacemaker is the subject of speculation for GOTG 3. While Iwuji’s casting has been made official, what we don’t know is who he will be portraying. Today, let’s breakdown the characters that the actor could be bringing to life.
FIRST APPEARANCE: FANTASTIC FOUR #48
Out of all the possibilities for Iwuji, this is the most exciting. Since Disney’s Fox acquisition was first announced, there has been a wealth of rumors and gossip surrounding the Silver Surfer. Last April, Ant-Man writer Adam McKay says he considered writing a screenplay for a solo Surfer film. While the writer/director said he couldn’t clearly remember why he didn’t pursue the project, McKay suggested that a Silver Surfer project may already have a creative team.
Of course, gossip of a Silver Surfer movie has been abundant for years. There was even talk that Silver Surfer would appear in Infinity War. What added perceived credibility to the account was a Google cast listing that included the Surfer. Obviously, that turned out to be false, but there may be more to it than first thought. Last year, actor Curt Clendenin hinted that he filmed a scene with the Surfer that was intended for Endgame. Nothing has come from that story, but it does raise eyebrows.
Flash forward to the first season of What If…?. In the seventh episode, there was a clear allusion to Galactus when an Infinity Stone-powered Ultron appeared to be devouring a galaxy. There was no reference to the Surfer, but the two characters’ lengthy histories are intertwined, and it led to more speculation that the Surfer could be coming.
It’s led to the latest gossip that Iwuji will bring the Surfer to life for GOTG 3. That could explain why the allusions to Surfer seem to be picking up momentum.
FIRST APPEARANCE: THOR #134
The most likely casting for Iwuji is the High Evolutionary.
The rumors for the former Herbert Wyndham have been circulating for years, though not as long as that Surfer gossip. Still, there’s a growing number of Marvel theorists who firmly believe that High Evolutionary is on his way to the MCU. After the events of The Eternals, it would seem that his time has arrived.
The two biggest pieces of the High Evolutionary puzzle are now in play. The most obvious is Arishem the Judge, who became the first Celestial with a starring role in the MCU. In the comics, Wyndham was an Oxford genetics professor in the 1920s. Like his role model, the pre-Mister Sinister Nathaniel Essex, Wyndham began experimenting with human subjects. As his knowledge and twisted experiments evolved, he caught the attention of the Celestials. They captured his essence and manipulated his DNA before returning him to Earth. This would set in motion his progression into the High Evolutionary we know and love today.
The other piece to the puzzle is Adam Warlock. HE and Warlock have a father-son relationship in the comics, which was showcased in the Annihilation storyline. Since Will Poulter is confirmed to play Warlock in GOTG 3, then HE could be close behind. Since Warlock’s origin was changed when his cocoon was revealed in GOTG Vol. 2, director James Gunn could easily add High Evolutionary as the mastermind behind Warlock’s creation.
FIRST APPEARANCE: THE MAN CALLED NOVA #1
Nova’s time in the MCU is imminent, and the backstory is ready and waiting.
Although it was not shown on screen, Infinity War perfectly set the stage for the Man Called Nova. If you recall, the original GOTG saw the Guardians leave the power stone in the hands of the intergalactic police force, the Nova Corps. Their numbers were already depleted after their battle with Ronan, and Thanos finished the work before the events of Infinity War. As far as we know, the Nova Corps has been wiped out, which follows the comic origin. The last remaining Nova member would then inherit the power of the Corps to be the last Nova.
While Nova may be a character in GOTG 3, I put this as the most unlikely casting choice for Iwuji. Make no mistake, Nova will get his (or perhaps her) time on the silver screen, but Iwuji probably won’t be the actor to bring the character to life. The early versions of Nova presented him as an adult, but later variations have made him a teenager. In fact, most of the younger Marvel audiences in their teens and twenties - a demographic Disney/Marvel seems to be targeting more with each phase - have only been exposed to Nova as a kid through the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. Even in the comics, the character has been a teen, and he was part of the revamped Champions in 2016. That leads me to believe that when Nova is cast, the actor will be someone Marvel could specifically market toward the younger crowd.
Be that as it may, much of what is leading fans to wonder if Iwuji will play Nova comes from two sources. For one, Gunn made comments about Nova years ago, saying that was one of the main characters he would like to use in a future movie. Of course, that got the speculative wheels turning. Then last year, an unconfirmed report began making the rounds. The gossip was that Marvel Studios had projects in the works for the Thunderbolts, a Shang-Chi sequel, and a Nova full-length feature film. Since then, the next Shang-Chi movie has been confirmed (as if Marvel ever makes only one movie in a franchise), and that has added validity to the notion of a Nova movie secretly being in development.
Do all the clues add up to Nova being in the third installment of GOTG 3? Strange things have happened, but I firmly believe a younger actor will portray the character in the MCU for the aforementioned reasons.
ANNIHILATION IN THE MCU?
There is a common factor between all three of the rumored GOTG 3 parts: Annihilation. This was one of the more epic and popular sci-fi comic crossovers in the past 20 years. The story basically involves every cosmic character and team across the Marvel Universe, and all three characters in the MCU rumor mill were major players. That raises the question, could all the gossip be alluding to a coming Annihilation of the MCU? It’s been written about before, and this may be where it’s all going.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.