Note: This article contains significant spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 looks set to be a stratospheric success. Early estimates suggest that it may be #Marvel's highest-grossing movie at the box office that doesn't feature Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man! One of the most intriguing plot elements, though, is an end-credits sequence that sets up the origin of Adam Warlock. He's a popular cosmic character who fans have been longing to see enter the #MCU for years — but how is he likely to be adapted for the MCU? And what part will he play in the future?
A Very Different Origin For Adam Warlock
#GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2 introduced us to an alien race known as the Sovereign: a race of genetics experts who worship the idea of purity. Every Sovereign is created for a specific role, with their genetics and experiences tailored to make them the best they could possibly be. As a result of this history of genetic and cultural engineering, the Sovereign view themselves as a superior race, and jealously guard their own prestige. The film really only focuses in on one Sovereign character, the High Priestess Ayesha.
Now, here's the thing; in the comics, Ayesha and Adam Warlock are actually artificial humans created by your standard bunch of mad scientists. #JamesGunn has re-designed the Sovereign from scratch, creating a brand new origin for both Ayesha and, as we saw in the end-credits, Adam Warlock. Warlock makes his entrance as film ends, with Ayesha convinced her newest creation will save her reputation; a creation she calls Adam.
How Will Adam Warlock Get His Powers?
In the comics, Adam Warlock is one of the most powerful beings in the entire Marvel Cosmic universe. In contrast, as we already saw in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Sovereign aren't typically too powerful. Sure, Ayesha had the ability to sense a person's heritage, hinting that she was even peering into Star-Lord's genetic code at one point. But that's small fry when you compare her to the kind of power-level you typically see from Adam Warlock — the manipulation of cosmic energy, flight, hyperspace travel, survival in space, teleportation... Frankly, Adam Warlock's powers are beyond measure. How will Adam Warlock get his powers?
There are really two possibilities. The first is based on the dazzling yellow light surrounding Adam Warlock's cocoon in the end-credits; this, so the theory goes, suggests that Ayesha has somehow gained access to the Soul Stone, and has integrated it into her experiment. This would mean that, as it is in the comics, Adam Warlock possesses the Soul Stone, and thus has access to its vast power. My fellow Creator Paul Zuniga has already pointed out that this would tally perfectly with the popular 'T.H.A.N.O.S.' theory, which each of the Infinity Stones is somehow tied to a letter from the name 'Thanos.' In this case, Adam Warlock is often referred to in the comics as simply 'Him,' matching with the letter 'H' and completing the acronym.
"He’s not in 'Infinity War'. But he will be a part of the future Marvel cosmic universe and a pretty important part of that."
This could be a misdirect on Feige's part, but it's more likely Warlock simply won't appear. Infinity War will focus on Thanos's quest for the Infinity Stones, so it's unlikely Warlock will possess the Soul Stone, if he isn't set to appear. Moreover, Ayesha clearly believes she can create more like Adam, and giving him the Soul Stone would make it impossible to replicate the experiment. There's only one Soul Stone, after all! So, if the Soul Stone isn't the answer, where will Adam Warlock get his incredible powers from?
Hidden In Plain Sight: Could Adam Warlock Be Part-Celestial?
The key, ironically, could well be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 itself. In one early scene, Ayesha is clearly fascinated by Peter Quill's mixed heritage. As I've already mentioned, she seems to be able to sense a person's background, their very DNA — so what did she see in Peter Quill's? I'd suggest that Ayesha's experiment, her grand discovery that she believed would redeem her in the eyes of the Sovereign Council, is that she's learned how to manipulate the genetic code to simulate some of what she glimpsed in Peter Quill.
Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting that Adam Warlock will be a fully-fledged Celestial. Ayesha would have no interest in creating such a being. Nor would she create anything that she viewed as a hybrid. No, she's far more likely to simply tweak typical Sovereign DNA, subtly manipulating the genetic code in order to unlock a whole new powerset — and a whole new breed of Sovereign. If I'm right, she's trying to create a Sovereign who carries the Celestial "light" within them. This would fit perfectly with the dazzling light surrounding Adam Warlock's cocoon.
What Role Will Adam Warlock Play In The Future Of The MCU?
We already know that Adam Warlock isn't going to appear in Avengers: Infinity War, so the story of Adam Warlock and the Sovereign will most likely be put on hold until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. If that's the case, it seems pretty clear that Adam will essentially be the Sovereign's 'enforcer' — a powerful, cosmic being who they unleash against their foes. The #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy will most likely be first on Ayesha's hit-list.
But here's the catch; Ayesha seems to believe that Adam Warlock will be the first of a new breed of Sovereign (the mad scientists in the comics had similar goals for the character; they named him Adam after the Biblical "first man"). If Ayesha's experiment is a success, then she'll be looking to duplicate it. Imagine the Sovereign with a class of cosmic warriors, all with the power-levels of Adam Warlock, all sent forth whenever a Sovereign felt insulted in the slightest. Imagine an ambassador yawning at a Sovereign rant, and their world being razed by a group of Sovereign Warlocks.
All in all, it looks as though we can be confident Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will pit the Guardians against Adam Warlock as a terrifyingly powerful enemy — at least at first. But as dangerous as Adam Warlock may be, the true threat is the Sovereign; if they can create more like him, then the whole galaxy will fear them. Time to save the galaxy again, Guardians...
So far, of course, the theory that Adam Warlock is tied to the Celestials somehow is just that: a theory. But it fits the facts in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 better than the Soul Stone, particularly given Kevin Feige's insistence that Warlock won't appear in Avengers: Infinity War. What's more, it raises the cosmic stakes for James Gunn's third film, promising a fantastic adventure that pits the Guardians against one very powerful foe...
Do you think Adam Warlock will be part-Celestial?
(Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)