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Everybody is getting excited for the impending return of some of our favorite heroes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. However, it turns out that one member of the cast almost didn't make it to the sequel. Karen Gillan recently revealed that Nebula apparently died in the original script of the first film. She, of course, us very happy that this decision changed, as she saw potential in the character. According to Gillan...
I definitely had a feeling that there was room for the character to expand in the future, but she was originally supposed to die in the first movie, I think I remember in the script. She obviously did not die, then I found out that she was coming back in the second movie and then I found out we got to explore all these amazing things about her past and her relationship with Gamora, her sister, so I was really happy.
Karen Gillan doesn't go into detail about exactly what happened to Nebula in the original script. Assuming that the decision to keep the character alive didn't also drastically change her final scene, we can guess that she was actually killed by her sister Gamora as the two were engaged in a battle against each other. In the final version, Nebula lost a hand in order to escape. Of course, as Gillan points out in her comments to Digital Spy, simply surviving the first film didn't mean that she was guaranteed to appear in the next one. However, we begin to get an idea why Nebula was allowed to live, as we know that the relationship between the two sisters will be a significant part of the story of Guardians pf the Galaxy Vol. 2.
In the first film we learned that Nebula and Gamora both had very interesting relationships with Thanos, the big bad of the MCU. Nebula is his actual daughter, who in the first film wanted her father's approval, but never seemed to get it. Gamora was the adopted daughter, who Thanos clearly favored, yet she hated his guts. It's a curious family dynamic, to say the least.
Karen Gillan has spoken about what she'd like to see Nebula do in Avengers: Infinity War, so from that we can take that she does, in fact, survive the new film as well, though certainly, it's possible that it's all misdirection. We certainly hope that Nebula survives. The character was clearly a hit with fans, and it's likely that James Gunn realized that she would be, it may have been the reason he changed his mind about killing her off.
We'll see Nebula as a less than enthusiastic member of the Guardians of the Galaxy when Vol. 2 opens May 5.