James Gunn is the new co-head of DC Studios, where he’s shepherding a new DC Universe that will include movies about Superman, Supergirl and more, but first Gunn will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the release of his trilogy-ending “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” The new Marvel tentpole pits the eponymous superhero gang against the High Evolutionary, played by Chukwudi Iwuji. The villain is Rocket’s creator and is hellbent on creating a special race of enhanced beings.
Gunn recently celebrated Chukwudi Iwuji’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe by posting to social media a photo of the High Evolutionary with the following caption: “Can’t wait for you all to meet this guy.”
More from Variety
Some Marvel fans exposed themselves as racist trolls in Gunn’s comment section and complained about Iwuji’s casting. Iwuji is a Nigerian-British actor who is also an associate artist of Royal Shakespeare Company, just in case anyone is doubting his acting abilities.
“Damnit… another white guy they made into a black guy,” one troll wrote on Instagram about Iwuji’s casting, despite the High Evolutionary appearing in many comics as a purple, android-like character. “Why couldn’t they just leave him white or i dont know…pick a different minority? How about Asian or gasp! A Latino?(how many Latinos and Asians in MCU? Like total of 5??) Or make him an Indian or something… because they don’t and won’t, that makes them ‘woke.’ Next time, a major character (hero/villain)will be a trans or homosexual or non-binary (when in comics they are not). Sad and pathetic. They’re picking based on race and whats PC and not on acting and what’s established.”
Gunn had no time for such criticism, firing back: “I chose the best actor, period, and the best person for the role. I don’t give a shit what ethnicity Chukwudi Iwuji is, so stop with your racist presumptions on WHY he was chosen. (And, by the way, he’s playing a guy who’s almost always purple in the color.)”
Speaking to Collider last year, Iwuji described the High Evolutionary as “narcissistic, sociopathic, but very charming.”
“I couldn’t have thought of a better character that uses [a] skill set better to join the MCU with,” he added. “Because there’s something very Shakespearean about him, there’s something very emotionally dark about him, and he’s a lot of fun on top of all that. The costume like you mentioned, the day I put on that costume, because he looks very different from how he is in the comics, but the costume just worked.”
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” opens in theaters nationwide May 5 from Disney.
Best of Variety