It wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without a post-credits scene. And in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, there are a whopping FIVE (5) post-credits scenes that expand upon the events that take place in the highly-anticipated sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. While most of them are just silly good fun, there’s one that clues fans in to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 below.
After spending an unholy amount of resources to arrest the Guardians, High Priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) is forced to answer to her superiors, the Sovereigns, for her colossal waste of time and effort. She’s not worried, though. In her post-credits scene, Ayesha gazes upon her creation: an artificial sentient being she’s named Adam, whom she’ll use to destroy the Guardians.
Comic fans know there’s one very important “Adam” from the cosmic realm of the Marvel Universe: Adam Warlock, who in the comic books was also an artificial being with powers. In addition to his standard issue set of superpowers like super-strength, speed, and stamina, Adam Warlock can also wrap himself in a cocoon (which was spotted in the Collector’s museum in Guardians of the Galaxy). He’s also infused with the Soul Gem, one of six Infinity Gems. In The Infinity Gauntlet storyline from the comics, Adam Warlock led all the Marvel heroes to stop Thanos from using the titular Infinity Gauntlet, which affords the wearer total control of reality itself.
Adam Warlock has historically occupied a strange place in Marvel canon. At first, Adam Warlock was known as “Him,” a genetically-engineered human created by a group of evil scientists called the Enclave. The Enclave would later create a second artificial being: Ayesha, so this is all just one big nice circle.
“Him” was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee for Fantastic Four #66 in 1967, but after fighting Thor (because he tried to mate with Thor’s girlfriend Lady Sif), “Him” gets lost in space and meets the High Evolutionary, who names him “Warlock” and gives him the Soul Gem to protect the (also artificial) planet Counter-Earth. On Counter-Earth, teenagers give Warlock the name “Adam.” Him made his first debut as Adam Warlock in Gil Kane and Roy Thomas’s anthology comic Marvel Premiere #1 in 1972, the same series that would later introduce Iron Fist.
Although Adam Warlock started off as an artificial scumbag, Kane and Thomas retooled Warlock into a sort of space messiah-like figure; shortly after saving Counter-Earth, Adam Warlock battled the Universal Church of Truth, a religious sect devoted to Warlock’s inner evil alter ego, Magnus. In 2009, Thomas admitted that at the time, he was a fan of the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical Jesus Christ Superstar and wanted to tell a similar story within the framework of a superhero comic book. “I had some trepidation about the Christ parallels, but I hoped there would be little outcry if I handled it tastefully, since I was not really making any serious statement on religion,” he told Back Issue! in 2009.
While this Space Jesus business may or may not be a thing in the MCU, the introduction of Adam Warlock is a big deal. However, he won’t play the same role in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War as he did in the comic storyline Infinity Gauntlet. James Gunn told Slashfilm that Adam will not be in Infinity War, but he will play a major part in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Considering his new origins in the MCU, he might not be on the heroes’ side. Whether he somehow ends up in possession of the Soul Gem remains to be seen.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is currently in theaters.