Counter-Earth in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 explained

Cameron Frew
The creatures of Counter-Earth in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.

The High Evolutionary’s plan in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 revolves around Counter-Earth – here’s everything you need to know about the venue for his sick scheme.

Played by Peacemaker star Chukwudi Iwuji, the High Evolutionary is one of Marvel’s nastiest villains yet. In our review, we wrote: “What a breath of fresh air to have a villain that isn’t bogged down by a trite, tedious backstory. Do you know why he’s horrible? Because he just is. The star plays him with frightening rage and majesty.”

While Thanos wanted to scrub half of all life from the universe to prevent starvation, this character’s intentions aren’t so (sadistically) noble: he “hates things the way they are”, and wants to genetically erase every flaw in pursuit of creating the perfect species. This is what led him to Rocket.

We see him tinkering with all sorts of animals, torturing and incinerating them in aid of his mission, and this is where Counter-Earth comes in – here’s what you should know.

Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 to follow…

What is Counter-Earth in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3?

Counter-Earth is basically a copy of Earth, created specifically to host the High Evolutionary’s so-called “perfect” lifeforms.

With some help from Rocket, the villain accelerates different animals to a more advanced stage of evolution and gives them a home there. The Guardians arrive in an everyday suburb outside a city resembling New York, but there are some differences: the Statue of Liberty has been replaced by one of the High Evolutionary, and nobody speaks English.

In a later scene, the High Evolutionary explains to Star-Lord that he was inspired after visiting the original Earth. He loved the planet’s art, literature, and music, even calling it “some of the best in the universe”, but he was disgusted by the “ignorance and bigotry”, so he built Counter-Earth.

However, the doppelganger world meets an apocalyptic end: after learning about the drug dealers and violence on the streets, the High Evolutionary decides to “raze it all and start again”, as he’s done several times in the past. The Guardians escape, but everyone else perishes as huge explosions rock the planet.

Counter-Earth in the Marvel comics explained

Counter-Earth was first introduced in 1972’s Marvel Premiere #1. Just like Earth, it orbits the same sun – but on the opposite side, and the High Evolutionary took specific measures to hide it from the original planet.

There weren’t any superheroes, at first, until High Evolutionary tasked Adam Warlock with taking down Man-Beast. Counter-Earth was later stolen on the say-so of the Beyonders, an ancient alien race who play a major role in Secret Wars, but it was eventually destroyed by Thanos, equipped with his Infinity Gauntlet.

Counter-Earth in the Marvel comics

However, the High Evolutionary resurrected the planet and populated it with New Men, similar to the anthropomorphic animal-people seen in Guardians of the Galaxy. He also had help from the Master Scientist and Luminous, two villains created from the genetic templates of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, as per the wiki.

There’s also the Heroes Reborn version of Counter-Earth, introduced in 1996. It was created by Franklin Richards, the son of Reed and Sue Storm, after the Avengers and other heroes were seemingly killed in a battle with Onslaught.

They were “reborn” in a new pocket universe with an alternate history, with its own version of World War II and other events. Everyone eventually made their way home, leaving Counter-Earth’s residents to fend for themselves, though a new superhero team eventually formed on the planet: the Young Allies, made up of Bucky, Jolt, Toro, IQ, Kid Colt, and K and O (Kaos and Order).

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is in cinemas now. You can read our review here, while for more on the movie, head to our dedicated GOTG page, or check out the below articles…

Best Easter Eggs | Pete Davidson cameo | Who dies? | Counter-Earth explained | Number of post-credits scenes | Avengers: Infinity War reference | Phyla-Vell explained | Is Yondu in GOTG 3? | Chris Pratt wants to return | Lylla, Teef and Floor explained | Does Rocket die? | Doctor Moreau influence | Adam Warlock, hero or villain? | High Evolutionary explained | Soundtrack details | Description of post-credit scenes | All actors and characters | Runtime explained | Why Rocket is the MVP | Is it streaming? | What is Blurp? | Ending explained | GOTG movies ranked | Will there be a Vol 4?

About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, and Oscars enthusiast. He loves Invincible, but he's also a fan of The Boys, the MCU, The Chosen, and much more. You can contact him at