Who is Adam Warlock? Will Poulter’s GOTG character explained

Chris Tilly
Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is now in cinemas worldwide, so here’s everything we know about Will Poulter’s character Adam Warlock, including whether he’s good or bad.

Adam Warlock made his MCU debut in a post-credits scene during the second Guardians of the Galaxy, setting him up as the supervillain to bring the superheroes down.

But the character has actually been around for more than 50 years, meaning Adam has a fascinating backstory where he’s teamed up with both the good and bad of Marvel. Making him something of an anti-hero.

So here’s a brief history of his time in the comics, his connections with the GOTG, and his complicated journey in Vol 3. Meaning BEWARE OF SPOILERS AHEAD

Is Adam Warlock good or bad in the comics?

Here’s how Marvel describes Adam Warlock: “Genetically engineered as the perfect being, the hero known as Adam Warlock uses his superhuman strength and cosmic powers to protect the universe from its darkest forces…including the one within himself.”

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the character made his debut in Fantastic Four #66-67, in September 1967. Here’s how Marvel refers to his birth:

“Adam Warlock was created by a group of Earth scientists called the Enclave as part of their effort to develop an army of perfect, invincible humans. While still forming, Warlock became aware that his creators intended to use this army to conquer the world. Upon emerging from a large cocoon, Warlock – then known only as ‘Him’ – possessed vast cosmic powers and immediately rebelled against the scientists, whom he considered evil. He determined that Earth was not ready for his presence and departed the planet—but not before wiping out the Enclave and their lab complex.”

Adam Warlock in the comics.
Adam Warlock punches Thanos in the comics.

In a storyline that connects to the GOTG movies, the High Evolutionary bestows the name “Warlock” on Him. While the people of Counter-Earth christen him Adam.

Marvel states: “Adam Warlock’s artificial genetic structure has given him bone and muscle tissue that are denser than a normal human’s, along with superhuman strength, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes.”

The character is also ethically complex, battling Thanos in one comic run, then teaming up with him in another. But he errs on the side of good, working with Spider-Man, Hulk, Doctor Stranger, and The Avengers through the years. And joining the Guardians of the Galaxy, alongside Peter Quill, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, Groot, and Phyla-Vell. Which somewhat mirrors the new movie…

Is Warlock hero or villain in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3?

Adam Warlock was introduced in GOTG Vol 2, being birthed from a cocoon by Ayesha, High Priestess of the Sovereigns. She names him Adam, and proclaims her boy to be “the next step in our evolution: more powerful, more beautiful, more capable of destroying the Guardians of the Galaxy!”

English actor Will Poulter was then cast in the role, and finds himself immediately doing Ayesha’s bidding at the start of Vol 3 by going after Rocket on Knowhere, which angers the rest of the Guardians.

Adam blasts Rocket with a beam that puts the racoon at death’s door, and turns Groot into a head with tiny roots, before Nebula stabs him, which sends Warlock flying away.

We then get a sense of Adam’s personality, and he’s a baby. A petulant child. Doing what’s asked of him by the Sovereign and the High Evolutionary, without ever really knowing why.

Ayesha believes his behavior is due to being birthed early, before his brain was fully formed. But it makes him something of an innocent in the film’s middle section. Even though he incinerates an imprisoned Ravager with a single blast.

Why Adam joins the new GOTG

Will Poulter as Adam Warlock.
Will Poulter as big-screen Adam Warlock.

But then Adam starts questioning his superiors. He loses Ayesha when she’s killed in the climactic battle. And he sees how his opponents behave, culminating in Groot rescuing Warlock when he himself is at death’s door. Because “everyone deserves a second chance.”

All of which changes Adam Warlock. He heads to Knowhere with the GOTG where he watches them interact with each other in the film’s final scenes. And it seems to take him out of the darkness and into the light.

The movie then ends with misguided villain becoming hero during Vol 3’s first post-credit scene. As we discover that Adam is now part of Rocket’s new Guardians of the Galaxy, teaming up with the very crew he was created to destroy.

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: chris.tilly@dexerto.com.