The Changes Karen Gillan Says We Will See In GOTG's Nebula Now That Her Father Thanos Is Dead

Karen Gillan as Nebula, eating fruit in Guardians of the Galaxy
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Playing a crucial role in Avengers: Endgame, Karen Gillan’s Nebula had to face off against herself in order to defeat Thanos. Considering she was first introduced as the adoptive daughter that was always trying to win his favor, that’s a pretty big step from where Gillan debuted in the MCU. Apparently the personal growth doesn’t stop there, as she recently discussed how Nebula will change in future Marvel movies now that her father Thanos is dead.

Revealing as much to our own Eric Eisenberg during the press day for Dual, Karen Gillan laid out that key ingredient to Nebula’s MCU transformation ahead. As it so happens, losing her “father” in Avengers: Endgame was the catalyst for a newer, maybe bluer future. Though don't expect too much to change, as Gillan told CinemaBlend that the more things change, the more they'll definitely stay the same: 

I'd say that we're definitely gonna see a difference in Nebula because her father, the source of her abuse, has been eliminated. And I think that that would have an effect on a person, a massive effect, but it might not be immediate. I think we're gonna start to see her kind of healing from that a little bit, and maybe become a little bit more of the person that she should have been. But we're also not gonna lose classic Nebula. Like she's still, you know, mad all the time. but she's becoming a different type of mad.

Over the course of several movies, we’ve seen Nebula’s relationship with adopted sister Gamora (Zoe Saldana) morph over time. She even got to the point where  heroism was an option in the face of certain doom. Now that she’s palling around with Star-Lord and friends in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the potential for a brand new Nebula only continues to bloom. No wonder Karen Gillan wants to continue in this role, even if James Gunn is tapping out after his third installment. Nebula is constantly changing, especially now that she's free from Thanos.

It’s not going to be all fun and games with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, as Gillan revealed that the script inspired tears among herself and her co-stars. James Gunn himself confirmed that part of those waterworks is thanks to the potential death of some Guardians characters, which also made him cry while writing. Still, you’ve got to balance sour and sweet in equal measure, otherwise the overall experience isn’t as fun. Cue some of Nebula's angry antics.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe experience has seen Karen Gillan moving forward into new territory herself. As she claimed that before Guardians of the Galaxy she “sucked at action,” those skills have grown to that of a true champion. Through several MCU movies, and two Jumanji sequels as well, Gillan has built a proficiency in stunts that shines brighter with each passing movie. To apply that same sort of escalation to the character of Nebula, while also keeping her moments of entertaining anger, makes her eventual return to Marvel all the more anticipated. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to open on May 5, 2023. Karen Gillan is also on deck to appear in this summer’s Thor: Love and Thunder, which debuts in theaters starting July 8th, 2022. However, if you want to see Gillan pulling double duty on screen yet again, this year’s upcoming movies have you covered for this weekend, as she’s pitted against herself once more in Dual.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.