Half the fun of a great villain is seeing how they fall. Whether it’s plummeting down a shaft like Palpatine or dissolving into dust like Voldemort, seeing someone with ill intentions meet the fate they deserve is always satisfying. But what if the villain doesn’t deserve to die? Seeing someone reform can be satisfying too, but closure can slip by the wayside if a bad guy just decides to change his mind.
While it may have seemed that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 fell into this trap, a new deleted scene finally shows what happened to the High Evolutionary, and it’s just as satisfying as you expect.
The High Evolutionary’s fate was always a mystery after Rocket spared his life in the film’s final moments. But fans suspected he escaped the story alive, based on a silhouetted shot from the movie, quotes from a visual effects artist, and eventually James Gunn himself, who said the villain’s fate would be revealed in a deleted scene.
In conjunction with the movie’s digital release, IGN released a scene revealing the High Evolutionary being taken into custody on Knowhere and sharing a final, tense moment of eye contact with Rocket. There are no words exchanged between the two, but there doesn’t need to be.
Gunn explained the scene was deleted because it messed up the pacing, but it’s definitely a firm conclusion to the complicated relationship between these two. Rocket spared the High Evolutionary’s life, proved himself the bigger raccoon, and set himself up to move on with life.
Aside from giving these two a closing moment, the scene establishes the High Evolutionary as available for future MCU adventures. Sure, he’s in prison, but when has that ever stopped a Marvel character from wreaking havoc?
So the High Evolutionary can return. But will he? Since this scene cements the fact the High Evolutionary’s unfinished business with Rocket is now well and truly over, he might be content with his sentence. But knowing the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no one is fully out of the picture, especially a villain as iconic as this one.