How Doctor Moreau influenced Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 villain

Chris Tilly
Marlon Brando in The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is now in cinemas worldwide, meaning it’s time to examine how 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau has influenced the new movie.

H.G. Wells casts a long and influential shadow over modern science-fiction. In the space of just four years, he wrote The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, and the book we are referencing today, The Island of Doctor Moreau.

Each of those tomes has been adapted multiple time in multiple forms of media. With Doctor Moreau being turned into three movies of varying quality, the 1932 version (starring Charles Laughton as Moreau) good. The 1977 adaptation (featuring Burt Lancaster) fine. And the 1996 version (starring Marlon Brando) a full-on celluloid disaster (see evidence of that in video below).

Sky Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams was also a loose adaptation that starred Steve Buscemi as a Moreau-like scientist. While Chukwudi Iwuji fulfils much the same role as the High Evolutionary in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, as we’ll explain. So BEWARE OF GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 SPOILERS AHEAD

What happens in The Island of Doctor Moreau?

Here’s the GoodReads synopsis for the book: “In The Island of Dr. Moreau, a shipwrecked gentleman named Edward Prendick, stranded on a Pacific island lorded over by the notorious Dr. Moreau, confronts dark secrets, strange creatures, and a reason to run for his life.”

Those strange creatures are the work of Moreau, a vivisectionist who fled England when his gruesome experiments were exposed. On the island – and away from the prying eyes of others – Moreau endeavors to turn animals into humans.

The result, however, is strange hybrids, including a servant called M’Ling who has human traits through vivisection, but is also a combination of bear, dog, and ox.

Moreau’s ultimate aim is to turn an animal fully into a human. But he never succeeds, and the experiments cause those animals great pain and suffering.

How Doctor Moreau influenced Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 villain the High Evolutionary

The High Evolutionary in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.
The High Evolutionary monitoring one of his creations.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3’s villain is called the High Evolutionary, and he has much in common with Doctor Moreau.

The High Evolutionary experiments on animals in order to bypass evolution. His plan is to create a utopia, filled with his perfect creations, all “for the betterment of the universe.”

But like Moreau, he fails at every turn. The High Evolutionary initially works on a racoon, an otter, a walrus, and a rabbit, torturing the animals through experimentation (creating Rocket Raccoon in the process), then ordering them to be incinerated when he doesn’t like the results.

The High Evolutionary then accelerates evolution to make seemingly perfect lifeforms to inhabit a planet he calls “Counter-Earth.” Which starts out well. But then drugs take hold of his creations, and violence and crime become rife on the streets, as happens in cities all over our Earth. So he orders the planet “razed” so he can start again.

The stories end with Moreau and the High Evolutionary suffering a similar fate, though with one important difference. Moreau dies during a fight with one of his hybrid creations. While Rocket defeats the High Evolutionary in battle with help from the rest of the Guardians. Then ultimately decides to let him live.

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

Chris Tilly is the TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Newspaper Journalism, and over the last 20 years, he's worked for the likes of Time Out, IGN, and Fandom. Chris loves Star Wars, Marvel, DC, sci-fi, and especially horror, while he knows maybe too much about Alan Partridge. You can email him here: