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High Evolutionary's Powers And Abilities Explained

Since "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" has put everyone's favorite interstellar superhero team back in the spotlight, it's also got fans wondering what the next installment of the series will be about. With James Gunn back in the director's chair following his scandalous firing (and subsequent rehiring) for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," there have been many more details coming out about the next adventure for the team, along with a first trailer.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" is looking like the end of the road for many of the characters who have been around since the very first film back in 2014. But this next movie will also add more members to the growing ensemble, with the addition of characters such as Adam Warlock, Cosmo the Spacedog, and more surprises to fill out the impressive cast of characters showing up. The one character who has left fans scratching their heads, however, is the mysterious villain of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," the High Evolutionary.

Little is known about what role the High Evolutionary will play in this film, but what is known is that the character has an obsession with evolving other lifeforms against their will in order to improve them as he sees fit. This character will be played by Chukwudi Iwuji in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," and most of what we know about the High Evolutionary comes from his appearances in Marvel Comics. If you want to know more about the next big foe for the Guardians, read on to learn everything about the High Evolutionary's powers and abilities.

The High Evolutionary is a genius geneticist

Within the Marvel Universe, there's no shortage of super-geniuses who are experts in their field. In the comics, Tony Stark is generally considered to be one of the best engineers around, with the ability to craft new high-tech suits that others could only dream of, while a character like Doctor Strange is regarded as a master of the mystic arts who creates spells that others wouldn't dare. When it comes to the High Evolutionary, however, his expertise is even more specializedand exists primarily in the field of genetics. In fact, according to the comics, the High Evolutionary is generally considered as one of the leading geneticists in the entire universe.

Beginning his life as a human from Earth named Herbert Edgar Wyndham, he advanced so far in his field that he was actually able to evolve his own intelligence to a superhuman degree. With this enhancement came a horrifying power to evolve (and subsequently devolve) other lifeforms as a means of experimentation. Part of what makes the High Evolutionary so villainous is that he is obsessed with perfecting organisms regardless of their consent, which is exactly what he did to Rocket Raccoon. The future Guardian of the Galaxy at one point was just a normal raccoon who was tortured, mutilated, and evolved by the High Evolutionary before ultimately being abandoned by his creator. Based on the recent trailer for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," this origin story will almost certainly come into play as the High Evolutionary takes his place as the film's main antagonist.

His super strength is formidable

Like most comic book villains, the High Evolutionary is lucky enough to have superhuman strength, which allows him to take pretty severe punishment from heroes trying to foil his dastardly plans. Thanks to his advanced evolution, he has gained an assortment of natural and artificial abilities which have strengthened his body beyond that of a normal human being.

Before becoming known as the High Evolutionary, Herbert Edgar Wyndham used his deep knowledge of genetics to augment his own genome. By advancing his genes forward to future stages of evolution, his body changed in unexpected (and beneficial) ways. One of the most helpful changes for combat against superheroes included a thick natural armor which increased his ability to take physical punishment. Additionally, he also gained a general strength which allows him to throw heavy objects, break through walls, and destroy his enemies with only his hands. The High Evolutionary is so strong that in one run of the Fantastic Four comics, he actually survived an intense encounter with Galactus (one of the strongest beings in all of the Marvel universe, capable of consuming the energy of entire planets).

Forced evolution is his game

As mentioned earlier, the High Evolutionary has an obsession with taking other lifeforms in the galaxy and changing them against their will. This comes from a delusional self-aggrandizement that makes him think he alone understands what the pinnacle of organic life should be, and he alone should change others into what he thinks is more evolved. Many of the villains that the Guardians of the Galaxy have faced in the past share a similar mix of arrogance, toxicity, and a repulsive desire to control others. Ego the Living Planet in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is a perfect example of this, since he wanted to spread his own biomass across every planet in the universe until, as he put it, everything became him.

With the High Evolutionary, his motivations seem similarly egotistical. Since he was a genius scientist who successfully improved himself through genetic modification, he now believes he's justified in experimenting on others in a similar manner. That is part of what makes his abuse of Rocket so tragic, since he gave what was a regular raccoon the burden of consciousness and the ability to understand the pain it had been through. In the first "Guardians of the Galaxy," Rocket reveals how traumatic his creation was during a drunken fight with the rest of the team at Knowhere, saying, "Well, I didn't ask to get made! I didn't ask to be torn apart and put back together over and over and turned into some little monster!" Although the High Evolutionary's mastery of evolutionary power is impressive, it has proven to be a cruel tool of manipulation which puts the entire galaxy at risk.

The healing factor gives him an advantage

A common power for both superheroes and supervillains to have is a "healing factor," which is basically just an enhanced ability for their body to recover from wounds. A famous example of a hero with an extreme healing ability is Wolverine who, thanks to his X-Gene, is able to regenerate his body from just about any calamity inflicted on it. Characters with a healing factor are difficult to kill and even more difficult to slow down in a fight, so when bad guys have the ability as well, that gives them a significant edge over their rivals.

Unfortunately for the Guardians of the Galaxy, the High Evolutionary is one of those villains with a regenerative healing factor. This comes from both his naturally advanced body — as a result of his augmented genes — as well as a piece of technology embedded into his suit called the Evolutionizer. The High Evolutionary wears an advanced body suit which houses his trademark evolution technology, and because of this, it's able to automatically use the Evolutionizer to heal his wounds and fix any injuries in an instant. A particularly over-the-top example of this is in Marvel Comics' "Incredible Hulk #266" and "Avengers Annual #17," where the High Evolutionary was ripped apart by the Hulk and yet somehow managed to recover. According to the comics, his healing factor is so advanced, thanks to his evolution, that he can regenerate even after being reduced to a paste by the Hulk's beating.

Telepathy is one of his abilities

While less common than other superpowers, telepathy is often a game-changer in the battle between the forces of good and evil in comic books. Characters with the ability to read minds and speak across vast distances directly into someone's brain are incredibly useful for both heroes and villains alike. An iconic telepath is Professor X, leader of the X-Men and one of the most powerful mutants on Earth, who has an inherent power to read other people's minds and even influence their actions subconsciously. Other powers that fall within the greater umbrella of telepathy include mind shields, illusions, manipulation, precognition, and even possession of weak-minded foes.

Obviously, a power such as this in the hands of a villain could do serious damage. That's why it's bad news for Star-Lord and friends that the High Evolutionary has telepathy as part of his arsenal of powers. It seems that advancing his brain through rapid evolution has granted him the ability to communicate with only his mind, and perhaps even more. He has also been shown to sense the thoughts of his enemies by reading their minds without them ever even knowing. These powers will likely be dangerous for the Guardians, since they aren't exactly known to be the most emotionally stable bunch to begin with. After all, Star-Lord singlehandedly caused half of the universe to be killed by Thanos, thanks to an emotional outburst in "Avengers: Infinity War" that allowed the Mad Titan to retain the Infinity Gauntlet.

Total recall memory

Although you may be thinking of Paul Verhoeven's classic 1990 sci-fi movie "Total Recall," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a man who gains implanted memories of a life as a futuristic secret agent, that's not what we're talking about this time. Similarly to that movie, however, is that the High Evolutionary has the innate ability to perfectly recall memories at any given time. Thanks to the same genetic modifications that have enhanced his intelligence, this character can remember every single moment in his entire life with perfect clarity.

Total recall memory (which is sometimes also referred to as "eidetic memory") is a super-ability which allows someone to remember huge swaths of advanced information in a very short amount of time. In a way, this power makes organic minds function more like artificial intelligences like Ultron, who can access endless information with little processing time. Interestingly, this power isn't as far-fetched as some of the others on our list, since there are people in real life who claim to have eidetic memory. Although most scientists write off the legitimacy of these claims (via Scientific American), it is still fascinating to think that evolution could someday enhance human memory naturally.

He's a master engineer

The High Evolutionary's danger doesn't just come from his genetic modifications; there's also a technological component to his might. Thanks to his enhanced intelligence, he quickly becomes an incredibly skilled engineer with the ability to create advanced contraptions to aid in his experimentation (and self-preservation). Like many characters in the Marvel Universe, the High Evolutionary takes it upon himself to create mechanical tools to boost his power level even higher.

A staple of the High Evolutionary's creations is an unfathomably advanced exoskeleton suit which actually gives Wyndham the bulk of his powers and abilities. Unlike other famous high-tech suits in the MCU (such as Iron Man's nanosuit), this exoskeleton provides multiple benefits beyond just combat protection. The High Evolutionary relies on his exoskeleton to perform a variety of evolution-based abilities, since it actually stores all of his DNA within it. One of the reasons he is so invulnerable to attack is because the suit is able to regenerate any part of the High Evolutionary's body thanks to this failsafe. This mastery of evolutionary technology and super-suit engineering makes the High Evolutionary a dangerous foe for even the most powerful superheroes in the cosmos.

Astral projection takes him into new realms

In the Marvel Universe, astral projection is usually associated with the more mystical side of the universe thanks to the astral dimension. Astral projecting is essentially the ability to separate one's consciousness from their physical form through intense meditation and focus, allowing their spirit to move vast distances through both space and other dimensions while their body remains put. The first time fans of the MCU ever saw this performed was during the first "Doctor Strange" film, where Dr. Stephen Strange's soul is ripped from his body by the Ancient One to open his skeptical mind to the world of magic. In general, Doctor Strange uses astral projection frequently as both a tool of the trade and a weapon against his enemies, such as when he force-projected Peter Parker's consciousness during a fight in "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

Although it's typically sorcerers and magicians who embrace the ethereal side of Marvel, it seems as though the High Evolutionary also has the power of astral projection. It is unclear exactly how his advanced evolution allows him to detach his consciousness from his body and travel the astral dimension, but it is safe to assume that his fancy telepathic brain can open up mystical options for the supervillian. There are some pseudo-scientific groups out there who genuinely believe that human evolution will lead to all people having an inherent ability to astral project themselves, so maybe that's the case for the High Evolutionary.

Manipulation of mass is no small matter

One of the more unusual powers of the High Evolutionary is his ability to manipulate the mass of objects, including himself. He has been known to change his own size at will by growing both smaller and larger, depending on what was needed in the moment. Unlike someone like Ant-Man, who also experiments with mass manipulation by wearing a suit that utilizes Pym Particles, the High Evolutionary's methods of changing size seem to be all his own.

Most of this monster's powers come from his advanced evolutionary state, and this ability is no different. The High Evolutionary is easily able to manipulate matter using his mind and exoskeleton alone, which gives him full control over the material world. Through this god-like power of a truly evolved being is how he's able to change his size without needing to use the same technology that Ant-Man does. Although the High Evolutionary often stays in his normal human size (which is how he will appear in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," as far as we know), he has also been seen growing to much larger sizes in various appearances by the character — even rivaling titans like Galactus.

His super intelligence is beyond measure

As mentioned before, the High Evolutionary has completely morphed his physical form through advanced genetic modification. His genes have been advanced so extensively that he can barely be considered human anymore, and he has abilities that a regular person could only dream of. One of the most useful powers he has gained through his experimentation is enhanced intelligence, which has allowed him to further perfect his work. This has made him deeply arrogant, however, something actor Chukwudi Iwuji openly discussed about his character in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" during a recent interview with Collider. He said about Herbert Wyndham, "He is 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."

When the High Evolutionary evolved his brain, it progressed well beyond the limitations of current day humanity. This guy was already a genius in his field before ever touching an Evolutionizer, but the genetic modifications opened the floodgates even further for his mental potential. In the comics, the High Evolutionary has essentially limitless knowledge that aids him in his quest to evolve all life, which has indirectly led to the creation of several other characters in the Marvel Universe. At one point or another, High Evolutionary's intelligence has led to him creating other superpowered beings such as Rocket Raccoon, Man-Beast, Quicksilver, and even Scarlet Witch (although her origin in the MCU is the result of Hydra instead). He has pushed beyond all boundaries and organic limits to completely change his intellectual capacity, thus making him one of the smartest — and most dangerous — beings in the universe.