MCU Fans Want to See Nebula Reach Her ‘Full Potential’ in ‘Guardians 3’

MCU fans have a lot of hopes for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, partly because the movie has a lot of characters, and partly because the movie is taking longer than expected, with the firing and eventual re-hiring of writer-director James Gunn. 

One of the specific hopes is to see a new and improved Nebula, as played by Karen Gillan. They see a lot of potential for that character now that she’s free of Thanos, with the possibility of an arc similar to Loki’s – a character who starts out as a villain,  then fights on the right side. 

What was Nebula’s arc in the MCU? 

Karen Gillan on the red carpet
Karen Gillan | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

When one hears that somebody is Thanos’ daughter, that person is likely to flinch, but Thanos is so evil that even the adopted daughters flinch. That goes for both Nebula and her sister Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana. And that proved to have dire consequences for both. 

In the first Guardians, Nebula helped Thanos fight the heroes, but she was captured and turned over to the Guardians. She escapes, and the second movie begins with Guardians protecting batteries from a monster as an exchange for Nebula, who was caught trying to steal the batteries. Still feeling vengeful, Nebula tries to kill Gamora but has a change of heart. She and Gamora call a truce, but that’s not the end of Nebula’s stubborn ways. 

Nebula decides to kill Thanos herself, but Thanos captures her and uses her to get Gamora to reveal the location of the Soul Stone. This leads to Gamora being sacrificed by Thanos to get the stone, while the ever surly Nebula meets up with the Avengers to defeat Thanos once and for all. 

What would fans like to see in future Nebula? 

On Reddit, fans talked about what they wanted to see in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and the topic-starter said, “What I’m most excited for in Guardians Vol.3 is Nebula’s character development. Completely free from the grip of Thanos, she will be on a path of self discovery. I hope she discovers she’s a dancer.”

This may not be such a silly suggestion, given Gillan’s gift for physical comedy, which is particularly on display in her role as Ruby Roundhouse in the Jumanji reboot movies. One of the most memorable scenes of the first movie is when she tries to flirt, and her awkward moves lead to a fight she handily wins. 

Another fan said, “Honestly I doubted marvel/Disney saw the potential of the character back in Guardians 1. I reckon fans’ approval and especially Karen Gillan’s acting is what made them use her so majorly in Guardians 2, Infinity War and Endgame and further. She could have been the main villain of a movie and gone on her path of character development similar to Loki. Absolutely awesome character and perfectly portrayed by Karen.”

What does Karen Gillan say about Nebula?

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gillan said, “I just love this character so much. I’ve been obsessed with her from the beginning because she’s such a complex creature, but also represents a lot of human behavioral stuff that we can all relate to …so it was easy to perceive her as a villain. But then to look at her reasons behind that, you understand her and have more empathy towards her — and then she’s not so much of a villain anymore.”

Gunn has been working on the script for Guardians Vol. 3 and has said he’s having particular fun with Nebula’s arc, among others. Gillan herself has seen the script and according to Cinemablend, she said, “I can say that I’ve read it and it’s amazing. We’re all really excited that James is back to complete the trilogy because it wouldn’t have felt right without him. It’s a wonderful, wonderful script.”

Gunn will work first to finish the sequel The Suicide Squad, which is due out in August 2021. As of right now, Guardians 3 is undated, but a release date in 2023 or thereabouts is probably in the offing.