Karen Gillan shared a new photo that illustrates how much work goes into her transformation to Nebula. The actress will reprise her role as the popular villain-turned-antihero in both Avengers: Infinity War and the as-yet untitled fourth Avengers film, as the character’s surprisingly complex arc continues to evolve. Gillan’s turn as Thanos’ adopted daughter has become one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most unexpectedly deep character studies.

Beyond James Gunn’s layered writing and Gillan’s compelling performances in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, the makeup and visual effects crews have also done a fantastic job bringing Nebula to life. Although her role in the new Avengers sequel remains relatively mysterious, there’s no question that Gillan will look incredibly convincing in her blue prosthetics. She showed her appreciation for the Infinity War makeup team with a new behind-the-scenes photo that exemplifies their level of effort and detail.

Related: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Has An Even Harder to Find Easter Egg

As Gillan revealed via Instagram on Friday, she snapped a photo of a crew member holding the remains of her prosthetic “mask” after she finished filming – “Nebula’s face at the end of the day,” as she put it. The makeup looks like a mangled mess after being peeled off of Gillan’s actual face, but it reveals a strong, thick layer of prosthetics that covers nearly her entire head. Check out the photo below:

Nebula's face at the end of the day. #avengersinfinitywar #nebula

A post shared by Karen Gillan (@karengillanofficial) on

Marvel Studios continued to work with Legacy Effects on the third Avengers film. Founded by former collaborators of the late special effects legend Stan Winston, Legacy previously did makeup for the first two Avengers installments and also for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Gillan said the process for Nebula in the sequel was dramatically improved over its predecessor, remarking that she spent two and a half hours in the makeup chair every day, as opposed to five for the first volume.

It’s fitting that the effects would improve for a character whose development continues to improve over the course of the MCU. Nebula’s relationship with her sister Gamora (Zoe Saldana) took major steps forward in Vol. 2, as the former ally of Ronan turns her ire back toward Thanos (Josh Brolin). Infinity War is expected to explore more of Nebula’s past with her father, which may be darker than you’re imagining, and her friendlier side may emerge when she finds herself a new “BFF”. Her continued growth as a character is no doubt exciting for fans of the Infinity War and Infinity Gauntlet comics, in which she plays a major role.

Despite the buzz surrounding Nebula in future MCU films, her place in the Infinity War on-screen narrative is still a “very big secret” — even to Gillan herself. There’s a chance that she ultimately gains possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, which caused a great deal of destruction in the comics. Much like longtime fans of the source material, Gillan hopes that her arc will be similar. But regardless of how Nebula’s comic storyline is translated on-screen, the character’s profile has certainly risen enough to create more work for the Infinity War makeup department.

Next: Avengers Filming Reportedly Returning To Scotland Next Year

Source: Karen Gillan

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