Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3's Karen Gillan Shares Her Favorite Thing About Playing Nebula

Karen Gillan as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

While Karen Gillan developed a following from her time as Amy Pond in Doctor Who, she achieved Hollywood stardom playing Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Debuting as the character in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Gillan has made five appearances as Nebula so far, with more to come over the next year. Nearly a decade after she first brought the blue-skinned warrior to life, Gillan has shared her favorite thing about playing Nebula.

Nebula most recently appeared alongside the other Guardians of the Galaxy (minus the time-displaced Gamora) in Thor: Love and Thunder, and she’ll be back for The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in the coming months, the latter of which may be her final outing as the character. Fresh off her appearance in Chris Hemsworth’s fourth solo movie as the God of Thunder, Karen Gillan informed Women’s Health what’s most appealing about to her about playing Nebula, saying:

My favorite thing about playing Nebula is exploring what it feels like to be the scapegoated sibling within a toxic family dynamic. Before I even got the role, that drew me to it. There’s a lot of material there.

Like Gamora, Nebula is Thanos’ “daughter,” in that the Mad Titan murdered her family when she was a child and raised her to be one of the many warriors to carry out her will. As they grew up, Gamora would win every sparring match with Nebula, resulting in Thanos’ forcing Nebula to be cybernetically upgraded to improve her skills. As a result, Nebula resented Gamora for a long time and went so far as to side with Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy after he acquired the Power Stone since he promised to kill Thanos. So “scapegoated sibling” is definitely a fitting description of Nebula from Karen Gillan, although fortunately things are going a lot better for her these days. 

When Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 rolled around, Nebula was still angry with Gamora and tried to kill her again, but by the time the sequel was over, the sisters had mended their relationship. Since then, Nebula has been depicted as a protagonist in the MCU, aiding in the conflict against Thanos and becoming an official Guardian of the Galaxy. Unfortunately, the prime version of Gamora was killed in Avengers: Infinity War, and the Gamora running around now was plucked from an alternate timeline right before she got caught up in the events of Guardians of the Galaxy. So while we can expect the sisters to reunite in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the dynamic’s going to be a lot different from what we’d gotten used to.

Disney+ subscribers will reunite with Nebula when The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special drops on the streaming service sometime this December, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will follow on May 5, 2023. For all kinds of other news about upcoming Marvel movies and upcoming Marvel TV shows, keep your eyes peeled on CinemaBlend.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.