Guardians of the Galaxy had some great female characters, with Star Trek Into Darkness's Zoe Saldana as the green-skinned Gamora and Doctor Who's Karen Gillan as her more blue-hued stepsister Nebula. With the men still outnumbering the women, though, director James Gunn expressed his desire to narrow that gender gap somewhat with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 by not only introducing new female characters but making sure they are represented in the toy line as well.
One big change for the ladies of Guardians of the Galaxy is that Gamora and Nebula will now be working together instead of against each other. In the first movie, Gamora was on team Guardians whereas Nebula was aligned with the movie's villains. With things not having worked out so well for her as one of the bad guys, though, Nebula will be joining her stepsister and newcomer Mantis alongside Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and tiny Groot. Being on the same team does not necessarily mean that Gamora and Nebula will get along, though.
Saldana spoke to IGN about the dynamic between Gamora and Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and the differences between them as well. Both characters were raised by the villainous Thanos, but they've handled it in different ways:
"You’ll begin to get a glimpse of how terrible life must have been like to grow up with a crazy stepfather through Nebula. Nebula is still in that teen-y, f*****g hateful s**t. She’s just resentful and bitter. Gamora, everything she does is trying to gain redemption for what she’d done before. That’s where you’re going to find her and then, obviously, their relationship is very volatile."
Going into the sequel, Thanos will still be on the minds of both characters. That is hardly a surprise, given how Marvel is building up to his role as the main villain in Avengers: Infinity War Part 1. According to Saldana, his influence will be felt in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as well:
"We’re starting somewhere very crazy but appropriate given where we had ended things off in the first installment. So Thanos is definitely spoken about – not highly."
Having Gamora and Nebula on the same team might help the movie pass the Bechdel Test, but it does not mean the two characters will be best friends. Expect plenty of sibling rivalry between the two of them when the Guardians return to save the galaxy once more in May of 2017.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.