While Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the predictable winner of the December box office, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has quietly had a very solid showing. A sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams film debuted to strong reviews and could be the beginning of a new franchise. The movie is also one of the most visible roles yet for star Karen Gillan, who also plays Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (under tons of makeup). The Scottish actress actually credits landing these roles to her time spent on the geekiest of all properties, Doctor Who. Karen Gillan recently explained how her time on that British staple propelled her to her current success, saying:
It was a launchpad, it was incredible and it has such a fanbase in America. I feel like I was getting roles because the directors of the things I was auditioning for were Doctor Who fans. So, it was amazing for me, actually.
I don't know if Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle director Jake Kasdan is a Doctor Who fan, but Guardians of the Galaxy's James Gunn definitely HAS to be a Whovian. He's got to be. Regardless of the fandoms of the Guardians and Jumanji directors, it is interesting to hear how important Karen Gillan holds her time spent on Doctor Who. The show does have a large and growing audience in America, and while I'm not among them (sorry y'all, it's just too many episodes), I imagine that there is a fair bit of overlap with the Marvel fandom. Being a part of such an iconic and tenured television property must have done a great deal to increase Karen Gillan's visibility and introduce the actress and her work to the studios making these films. Plus the geekiest properties are the ones that are the most profitable at the box office these days, so having that Doctor Who cred can't hurt when she's up for a part in a franchise.
Speaking to This Morning with Philip & Holly, Karen Gillan seems genuinely grateful for how her time in the TARDIS launched her career. A career that is just beginning to hit its stride. This year Karen Gillan will return to the MCU in what will likely be the biggest film of the year, Avengers: Infinity War. While she is almost unrecognizable as Nebula under layers of makeup in her MCU outings, Jumanji has finally put her face on the big screen in arguably her most visible role yet. It is also a very different role than Nebula as she gets to play a character inhabiting the body of an avatar in a video game. Not a bad way to show some range.
While Karen Gillan is breaking out, thanks to Doctor Who, the science fiction series is also making news. The series, which relaunched in 2005, has cast its very first female Doctor for season 11, Jodie Whittaker. For Karen Gillan, who is pushing for an all-female Marvel movie, this move is a big deal and one she approves of. You can catch Karen Gillan in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, in theaters now. And you can see Thanos' second favorite daughter hopefully confronting daddy dearest when Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4th.