Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Debut Brings Fans to High Evolutionary and Phyla

Matt Fowler
Movies Comics
Movies Comics Marvel MCU

Warning: Full spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 follow…

Movie fans turned out in droves for the Guardians of the Galaxy’s final ride – well, final under the creative eye of James Gunn at least – as the trilogy capped off with the exciting and emotional Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Rocket, Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, Gamora, Groot, and Nebula have signed off for now, at least a couple of them likely for good, with a terrifically touching tale that took us into Rocket’s backstory, Star-Lord’s grief over Gamora, and much, much more, including a worldwide opening weekend take of $289.3 million.

With the film opening, the page for Vol. 3 at Fandom’s MCU wiki spiked big time, moving up 84% over the weekend, which was a faster uptick than we saw with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania just a few months back (that film got a 66% rise). Vol. 3’s spike was also bigger than the Vol. 2, back in 2017, which only grew 58%, though that installment had a bigger opening at the domestic box office.

With the stories of Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Natasha Romanoff over and done with – and Thor, after four movies, somewhat in a state of limbo – the beloved Guardians leaving us is a big deal, as is the exit of James Gunn from the MCU, given he’s the biggest reason why these characters became so beloved. So the movie page’s growth is totally understandable.

The Evolution of the Perfect Heel 

Cracking into the Top 10 most-read pages and you’ll see that the film’s big baddie, High Evolutionary –  who was up 255% in pageviews once the film opened – took the main prize:

  1. High Evolutionary (MCU)
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
  3. Adam Warlock (MCU)
  4. Rocket Raccoon (MCU)
  5. Star-Lord (MCU)
  6. Lylla (MCU)
  7. Guardians of the Galaxy (MCU Team)
  8. Adam Warlock (Comics)
  9. Phyla-Vell (Comics)
  10. Ayesha (MCU)

High Evolutionary has a deep history in the comics, having clashed just about every big hero in Marvel at one point, but the page fans cared about the most was his MCU page, which was all about actor Chukwudi Iwuji’s vile, operatic villain who worked so well as the perfect foil for the Guardians during this final run. Devoid of any sympathy you might find in other MCU villains, like Loki and Killmonger, High Evolutionary was pure “mustache-twirling” evil. High Evolutionary’s comic book page, from the Marvel Wiki, landed at number twelve though (under the character’s human name, Herbert Wyndham).

Since we’re on the topic of Vol 3. foes, Adam Warlock’s MCU and Marvel pages both placed in the Top 10. Coming off the tease from the very end of Vol. 2 you would have expected Warlock to be this film’s main antagonist. Instead he was a tweaked version of the comic character, relegated to more of a notably powerful second-string annoyance, albeit a notably powerful one.

It makes some sense, given Warlock, in the comics, was such an integral part of the Infinity Stone saga, including most of the crucial battles against Thanos, while the movies left him out of all that. What was kept from the comics though was a redeemed Warlock becoming an official Guardian, which we saw in the film’s mid-credit scene.

Who the Vell is Phyla? 

The Top 10 also revealed strong showings for Guardians leads Star-Lord And Rocket, along with Rocket’s former BFF, Lylla (Linda Cardellini, in her second MCU role after Laura Barton), and Warlock’s Sovereign mum, who first debuted in Vol. 2, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). Star-Lord and Rocket being the only two returning core Guardians members to make the Top 10 tracks because their stories, as co-leads of sorts, made up the primary focus of the movie.

Coming in at number nine though was Phyla-Vell, who was revealed in the mid-credits scene as part of Rocket’s new Guardians team. And it was an especially notable reveal since she had been, up until then, one of the children who the Guardians rescued from High Evolutionary, though one of the most prominent. The page that scored the highest was Phyla’s Marvel comics page, as fans were very interested in this character’s deep history, including that she’s one of the many who have carried the Captain Marvel mantle.

The MCU-specifc Phyla placed at number 15 as well, though her MCU history, for now, is only what we briefly saw in this movie, starting with her intro running on the High Evolutionary’s hamster wheel. Though she also ultimately joined the Guardians in the comics too, the MCU Phyla is clearly not an exact one-to-one with her comics counterpart, starting with her being a child. Plus, right now, no one has said the “Vell” as part of her name, which may have been discarded here. It’s possible this is akin to Gunn’s approach to Mantis, taking mainly the look and name of a character and then doing something very different with them, though future MCU films could very well line this Phyla up more with the source material.

Overall, the Marvel Wiki, which focuses more on the comics, only spiked 17% with Vol. 3, much less than the MCU wiki. This is less than Quantumania caused in February (with 20%) and also less than Guardians Vol. 2′s 36%. It does make sense, though, since there are fewer comic book-related lore and/or Easter eggs to look into this film compared to others, given Gunn created a lot for this film on his own and the story mainly stayed contained to the Guardians’ corner of the MCU.

Matt Fowler