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Adam Warlock – Marvel’s Golden Man-God With Magnificent Hair Explained

5 Minute Read
Aug 11 2023
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Adam Warlock made his MCU debut this year thanks to Will Poulter. Who is this magnificently quaffed man-god, and where did he come from?

The golden hero, played by Will Poulter, joined the MCU in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 this spring, but his comics backstory is even weirder.

Adam Warlock is built on the creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, which debuted in Fantastic Four in 1967. At that point, his name was simply Him. The character was reintroduced and significantly revamped, which included a new name and updated origin that may or may not have been inspired by Jesus Christ Superstar.

Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock #1 (2018), art by Aaron Kuder via Marvel

Who is Adam Warlock?

Writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane created the Adam Warlock we know today. He first appeared in Marvel Premiere #1, which hit stands in April 1972.

Adam Warlock debut issue
via Marvel

The Enclave, a group of scientists from Earth, created Him. Their goal was to create an army of perfect, invincible humans that would follow their every order. The super being discovered that they planned to use this force to take over the world while he was still forming, and rebelled the instant he left his cocoon. Realizing that Earth wasn’t ready for his presence, he destroyed the Enclave and left the planet.

Adam Warlock 1967
Fantastic Four #66 (June 1967) via Marvel

After a brutal fight, Him encased himself in another cocoon to recover. Eventually, the High Evolutionary, a human geneticist with questionable intentions, found the cocoon. The High Evolutionary had created a planet he hoped would be Earthlike and free from evil, but one of his creations introduced the concept to the planet. The entire thing would have to be scrapped. Him emerged from his rest and convinced the High Evolutionary to let him try to save the planet’s inhabitants. This earned him a new name and the Soul Gem, which was affixed to his forehead.

He initially failed in this endeavor, was killed, and once again encased himself in a cocoon. Warlock was reborn several days later with more cosmic awareness and power than before. In his new form, he was able to save the planet and its inhabitants. With this win under his belt, Adam Warlock and his collection of cocoons set out to be a force for good across the cosmos.

Adam Warlock MCU inspiration for Will Poulter
via Marvel

Is Adam Warlock a Villian?

Lee and Kirby wrote Him as a callous and self-serving character, an antagonist for the Marvel heroes to fight. He wasn’t evil, just selfish. In his first appearance, he kills his creators without much thought. Later he shows a callous disdain for humans and chides Thor for how much he cares for mortals. He applies his own set of morals to the world around him, at one point stating, “I am Him! I am law and truth unto myself!”

This changed when Thomas and Kane took over the character. When Him is revived from his cocoon by the High Evolutionary, he has a change of heart and starts to feel compassion for those he used to think were beneath him. He becomes Adam Warlock. With the name change comes an attitude change – he is a force for good that aims to protect humanity.

His mission as a self-appointed savior of worlds has gained him several adversaries–including Thanos–and allies like Doctor Strange, the Silver Surfer, and the Avengers. He’s also had an arc that focuses on the Infinity Gauntlet.

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Avengers Annual Vol. 1 #7 (August 1977) via Marvel

Who Plays Adam Warlock in the MCU?

The MCU makes some tweaks to his origin story. He’s a creation of the Sovereign–a race of golden, genetically engineered perfectionists explicitly created for the screen. Ayesha, Golden High Priestess of the Sovereign, shows Adam’s cocoon to her servant in a mid-credits scene after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

In 2021, they cast Will Poulter in the role, and he made his debut in Guardians Vol. 3 in 2023.

Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in MCU GoTG3
via Marvel

He serves as an antagonist in the movie. At the start, the MCU version of Adam Warlock is more of a himbo that takes orders than his callous comic book counterpart. The kind of weapon Enclave wanted him to be. He will do anything to further the agenda of The Sovereign. But as his mission to destroy the Guardians of the Galaxy progresses, he’s unsure if he’s doing the right thing. In the end, like in the comics, he has a change of heart.

Will Adam Warlock Be in More MCU Movies?

It’s unknown if we’ll be seeing more of Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock. When asked about the future of the character, the actor told ScreenRant:

I don’t know where he’s headed. And if I did, I would tell you, honestly. But I don’t. I’m very honored that he’s a beloved character, and that fans have been excited to see him. I’ve just been wanting to try and do justice to what James [Gunn] wrote. I’m excited to try and hopefully take him on and explore his evolution, but I don’t know exactly how that will look.

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Adam Warlock’s comic book stories link him to the Infinity Stones, which makes him a better fit for the Infinity Saga. The character still has a lot of potential in the Multiverse, though–either for good or unimaginable evil. And it seems Will Poulter is game to on the MCU’s golden man.

Will Poulter as Adam Warlock in the MCU
via Marvel

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Author: Mars Garrett
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