James Gunn debunks reports of Adam Warlock casting in Guardians 3

Adam Warlock
Adam Warlock Pic credit: Marvel Comics

It appears the wait for Adam Warlock to debut in the MCU will be longer.

On Tuesday night, reports surfaced that Marvel was going to cast the enigmatic cosmic character for Guardians of the Galaxy 3, complete with the type of actor they were looking for.

But writer/director James Gunn silenced the rumors by stating that no such casting plans were being made. 


First appearing in 1967, Warlock was originally “Him,” an artificial being created by a pack of mad scientists called the Enclave. Blessed with golden skin and energy powers, “Him” defied his creators to set out on his own. 

In 1972, writer/artist Jim Starlin renamed the character Adam Warlock. Now traveling through space, Warlock would engage in cosmic adventures that included a “Counter-Earth.”

The character seemingly sacrificed himself to stop Thanos. But in 1991’s Infinity Gauntlet (the basis for Avengers Infinity War), Warlock returned to stop Thanos once more. 

Since then, Warlock has bounced between a pure hero and a darker figure who often battles his sinister alter ego, the Magus. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 ended with the alien Sovereign leader Ayesha watching a cocoon (much like the one that birthed Warlock in the comics) and musing that she would call its contents “Adam.”

The casting report

An early script for Avengers: Infinity War would have had Warlock taking part, which makes sense as he and Thanos battled several times in the comics. It ended up being one of many unused plotlines. 

The Illuminerdi first broke “an exclusive report” that the studio was looking for “a thirty-year-old Caucasian man, who is described as both a “super hero type” and a “Zac Efron type,” as Adam Warlock.

Gunn had planned for Warlock to have a larger role in GOTG vol 2 but decided to cut it as the film was already filled with characters.

The cameo at the end further fueled the idea of a Warlock appearance, while Efron has been a favorite choice of fans in the role for some time.

The reports were soon widely circulated among many websites. But Gunn himself soon stepped in, stating the rumors were just that, noting why “would I only cast a “Caucasian” if the character has gold skin? And if I wanted a Zac Efron type, wouldn’t I go to Zac Efron?”

Guardians 3 not filming yet

James Gunn and Suicide Squad cast
James Gunn and the cast of Suicide Squad. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

A major reason for this report being dubious is that GOTG 3 has yet even to have a set release date.  

Production on Guardians 3 has been delayed, first by Gunn being fired from the movie in 2018 over controversial comments in his past only to be hired back a year later.

Also, like every MCU production, the pandemic shutdowns further delayed pre-production plans as the entire MCU calendar was rescheduled. 

Gunn has also been busy filming DC’s The Suicide Squad and preparing for the Peacemaker TV series, both starring John Cena. This has left him with little time to prepare for even a script rewrite of Guardians 3.

The Guardians actors will cameo in Thor Love & Thunder, with reports the third film will begin filming later this year. 

While Gunn may be actually trying to keep a possible Warlock appearance secret, at the moment, the Warlock casting news is merely a fan dream. 

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 to debut in theaters 2023.

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