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‘You’ve gotta hate ’em’: James Gunn admits ‘Guardians 3’ throws some subtle but serious shade on the MCU’s most overused trope

We all know what he's talking about...

James Gunn attends 'Blue Beetle' premiere/Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images/Image via Marvel Studios

Remember when the MCU used to have bland villain after bland villain who were just copies of the hero with none of the personality? Abomination, Aldrich Killian, Kaecilius… These days, however, the franchise is arguably suffering from the opposite problem: The studio is obsessed with making its antagonist too sympathetic, at the expense of their impact as evil-doers. Thor: Love and Thunder‘s Gorr the God-Butcher is a prime example. And someone who seems well aware of that is ex-Marvel boy, current DC chief James Gunn.

In Marvel Studios: Assembled: The Making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is now finally streaming on Disney Plus, the writer/director opens up on why the High Evolutionary (as played by Chukwudi Iwuji) is so thoroughly unpleasant. As caused some consternation from viewers at the time, the tyrannical mad scientist is among the most horrendous Marvel villains, thanks to his unfeeling animal cruelty. For Gunn, though, this was the entire point.

As Gunn explains in the special, he wanted to avoid a traditional world-conquering bad guy, but at the same time he didn’t want to make a villain who’s too nice to hate. Hence the very hateable High Evolutionary:

“You know, you don’t want a mustache-twirling evil villain doing evil for no reason. ‘I want to take over the world, I want to destroy the universe!’ All those things that don’t make sense. You don’t want that. But also when you really get to know a villain, and you feel ‘hey, they’ve got a good reason for something.’ you stop hating them… You’ve got to hate them.”

The interesting thing here is that this is perhaps an example of Gunn accurately predicting where the MCU was going rather than actively reacting against it, as his script for Guardians 3 was originally written long before the Multiverse Saga even began. With Killmonger and Thanos appearing in the end days of the Infinity Saga, though, clearly Gunn saw the writing on the wall for truly despicable villains and decided to do something about that. Going by his opinions, presumably we can expect some of the most sinister supervillains in comic book cinema come the DCU’s launch.

About the author

Christian Bone

Christian Bone is a Staff Writer/Editor at We Got This Covered and has been cluttering up the internet with his thoughts on movies and TV for a full decade, ever since graduating with a Creative Writing degree from the University of Winchester. He can usually be found writing about anything Marvel or DC. And yet, if you asked him, he'd probably say his favorite superhero film is 'The Incredibles'.