Adam Warlock has played a consistent role in the Marvel Comics cosmic landscape since his introduction in Fantastic Four #66. He's been developed by creators like Roy Thomas and Jim Starlin to be one of the most important players in that corner of the universe, and has been featured at the center of numerous storylines.
Because of this, it's not surprising to find a number of small cameos and references to the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite the hopes of some fans, the character has never fully appeared in the films. Despite having a major role to play in stories like Infinity Gauntlet, he didn't show up in the adaptations that were Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame. Let's look back at the history of Adam Warlock not appearing in the MCU.
The Coming Of Him
Both Guardians of the Galaxy films contained shout-outs to the character and his slow metamorphosis. The original film featured the appearance of a large cocoon in the Collector's menagerie. During the after-credits sequence of the film, the cocoon can be seen open and empty, hinting that whatever was inside it is now loose. An even more overt reference to the character came during the after-credits scene for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, where Ayesha of the Sovereign is looking to jump-start the next evolution of her race, and claims she shall call her creation "Adam."
This led many fans to speculate that the character would be making an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War, which at the time was the next major cosmic story coming from the MCU. After all, Adam served a major role in the original Infinity Gauntlet story. It would make a certain sense to see him oppose Thanos.
"Adam Warlock will not be in Infinity War," Gunn said at the time. "He will have a future in the MCU. But will it be in Infinity War? It will not."
Fans then turned their attention back to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, expecting his birth to be explored in the series that first teased his arrival. Gunn revealed that the Adam Warlock sequence was actually almost cut from the film entirely.
"We almost didn't include the Adam Warlock scene because he was definitely not in Avengers 3 or 4 and we had no plans for him in general," said Gunn.
Still Waiting On Him
The ending of Infinity War added fuel to the fire, however, with some fans seeing the ending as the perfect place to introduce the character. With the Soul Gem and Soul World introduced in the climax of Infinity War, some saw this as the perfect opportunity for the character to finally appear. After all, Adam Warlock has long had a connection to the Soul Gem and Soul World in the comics. Even though the directors of Infinity War revealed that Adam Warlock was never going to appear in the film, some clung to the hope that the character would prove crucial to the battle going into the then-untitled Avengers 4.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo dashed those hopes, however, when they revealed in an interview that Adam Warlock was definitely not appearing in the film.
"Yeah [Adam Warlock]'s not showing up in our stories," Joe Russo said. "Our job as we said a million times is to tell the story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not to do direct adaptations of the comics because we're comic book fans."
Even the hopes that they were lying about his involvement proved untrue, as the character was nowhere to be seen in Avengers: Endgame.
So, When Are We Going To See Him
Fans hoping to see the character appear have circled back around to the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Surely, with James Gunn returning to the MCU almost nine months after he was unceremoniously dropped from the franchise, the story arc that Gunn started can be completed with the introduction of the character once and for all.
But those hopes may have been dashed years ago.
12 And despite so many people thinking Adam will show up in Vol 3 that is something that we have never confirmed. Who knows how long it will take him to bake in that cocoon. That said, I love Adam. But the time must be right.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) November 21, 2017
"Despite so many people thinking Adam will show up in Vol. 3, that is something that we have never confirmed," Gunn wrote in a tweet from 2017. "Who knows how long it will take him to bake in that cocoon. That said, I love Adam. But the time must be right."
Of course, that could be Gunn lying to cover up the actual plot of the film, which could easily introduce Adam Warlock. For the time being, at least, Adam still has no real role in the MCU. We'll find out one way or the other when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters. The film is set to begin filming next year, so there might be hope yet.
Written and directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 does not currently have a release date.