James Gunn confirms the fate of the High Evolutionary in Guardians of the Galaxy 3

Guardians of the Galaxy 3
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 director James Gunn has confirmed what happens to the High Evolutionary in the movie. A warning that the following will contain major spoilers for the Marvel Phase 5 film!

At the end of the movie, the High Evolutionary goes head to head with Rocket Raccoon and the Guardians. It's a clash that leaves him down and out after Gamora peels off the mask covering his face; in the past, Rocket clawed the High Evolutionary's face into a bloody mess, so he looks in pretty bad shape when the Guardians are finished with him. 

But, Rocket refuses to kill the villain, pointing out that he's a Guardian of the Galaxy when questioned. The High Evolutionary's ship is then completely destroyed, leaving his fate ambiguous. 

Gunn, though, has cleared up what happened to the bad guy once and for all. In a tweet replying to a fan, the director revealed that the High Evolutionary is "Imprisoned on Knowhere." That's the skull-shaped base the Guardians call home. 

The director also went into more detail about the ending. "It’s the whole culmination of Rocket’s journey," he wrote. "His shift comes in that he doesn't kill him – he goes from being the least empathetic to the most empathetic Guardian. It seems silly & hollow that he'd refuse to kill him & then leave him on an exploding ship. And, yes, there is a deleted scene. It's really great actually but it messed up the pacing of the end. But you'll see it in the extras eventually."

"He doesn't have any redeeming qualities," High Evolutionary actor Chukwudi Iwuji told GamesRadar+ of his character. "He's a proper villain you know, proper with a capital P. He's going after something terrifying, he makes you very uncomfortable, and you're waiting for him to get his comeuppance. And those [qualities] are very fun to play without any apology or any craving for sympathy from the audience's side."

It's true that the High Evolutionary is one of Marvel's most sinister villains – and his survival means that we might catch a bone-chilling glimpse of him again someday.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is in theaters now. If you're up to speed on the movie, check out our spoilery deep dives on:  

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.