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Nebula in Endgame

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in a fascinating place right now, as we're currently in the midst of the interim months between phases. Phase Three was a huge success, with every single release being a critical and box office success. But the biggest hit was obviously Avengers: Endgame, which delivered on fan expectations and eventually became the highest-grossing movie of all time. But it turns out that Nebula almost had a very different fate in the movie.

Nebula and Rocket were the only Guardians of the Galaxy to survive Thanos' snap in Infinity War. This brought the two characters together, although we met another version of Nebula about halfway through the movie's runtime. 2014 Nebula popped up alongside her father and sister during the Time Heist, and Gamora tried her best to bring her to the light side, before current day Nebula put an end to her doppelganger. But another form of the story saw 2014 Neb actually wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, in an attempt to stand up against Thanos. This was revealed in a companion book for Endgame, which reads:

While the Nebula from the past was killed by her future self in Avengers: Endgame, her demise was scripted a lot differently in another version. In that draft, she was able to intercept the Stark gauntlet during the massive game of keepaway in the film’s final battle. Wanting to prove to her father Thanos that she is a capable and strong warrior, Nebula tries to use the glove herself– a nod to the 1991 comic book series Infinity Gauntlet, written by Jim Starlin. This Nebula learns she is not powerful enough to use the Stones and survive.

Well, that's a pretty epic ending ending for 2014 Nebula. And it likely would have made comic book purists very happy, considering the character's life on the page. Unfortunately, that moment ended up on the cutting room floor.

This page from Marvel's Avengers: Endgame - The Art of the Movie (via Youtube) shows how many versions of the film's final battle there were. The Russo Brothers filmed Infinity War and Endgame back to back, a decision they've since admitted regretting. As such, there were a ton of footage that ended up on the cutting room floor. Some of those scenes are available on Disney+, and you can use this link for a 7-day free trial and see for yourself.

In the theatrical cut of Endgame, the 2014 version of Nebula was never redeemed. The blue Guardian was simply too obsessed with pleasing her father at that point in his life, and enduring his emotional and physical abuse. She was ultimately put down by the modern Nebula, in order to save Gamora and Thanos from procuring the Infinity Stones.

In the comics, Nebula actually wields the Infinity Gauntlet, and isn't killed by its power as Tony was in Avengers: Endgame. Instead, she uses it to restore herself after being injured by Thanos, while also casting him out. Nebula never got this big moment on the big screen, but she's had one of the most drastic character arcs in the MCU.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe will kick off Phase Four with Black Widow on May 1st, 2020. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies. And our 2020 release list to look ahead toward the New Year.

Avengers: Endgame Exclusive Interview | Joe and Anthony Russo

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