What Karen Gillan Told Us On Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Set

On both the London set of Guardians of the Galaxy back in 2013 and last April at the Atlanta set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we had the opportunity to chat with the cast while they were dressed up and done up in their impressive alien makeup.

Karen Gillan's blue and purple skinned, party cybernetic and bald look was arguably the most effecting and intimidating at a glance, and it's easy to forgive someone for having challenges separating actor from villains killer working for Thanos if it weren't for the always-positive and bubbly attitude Gillan brought to both conversations.

In our chat about the sequel, where Nebula finds herself at first a captive of the Sovereign before joining the Guardians of the Galaxy roster, we discuss the character's unexpected backstory, twisted relationship with Gamora, wanting to fight Thanos in an Avengers movie, new characters, and costume changes.

Heard you were in make-up for four or five hours.

Karen Gillan: So we've gotten it down to about two and a half hours.


Karen Gillan: And it was five on the last film, so I am happy.

So can you tell us where your character is at this point? When we last saw her, she had chopped her hand off?

Karen Gillan: Yeah, so she's on a mission to sort of rectify that because she's missing a hand. And she's also on a mission to find Gamora and rectify a few things there as well and we're going to find out a lot about their back story and learn a lot about Thanos's parenting skills and maybe how dysfunctional the entire thing is. So we're going to chip away at those layers, which is really fun.

Okay. Kevin Feige said that maybe this time Nebula is a little bit more, we can empathize with her a little bit more this time around.

Karen Gillan: Yeah.

There's more understanding of her.

Karen Gillan: I think so. When you understand anyone's motivations for anything, I think you can empathize with them and that's exactly the case with Nebula here. And that's what I'm really excited about as an actress, because I want to empathize with my characters. And yeah, I think people might even feel a little bit sorry for her, if it's possible.

Do you think, like I think a lot of people liked her as a villain, but do you think they'll like her more as a hero this time around?

Karen Gillan: I hope people will understand her a little bit more, but she's definitely, her default is very pissed off and that's not going to change.

Thanos isn't in this movie.

Karen Gillan: No.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 BTS Set Photo - Yondu Nebula with Team banner

But we learn more about him through you.

Karen Gillan: Yeah, I guess so. We learn a lot about their backstory actually and what happened to these two girls growing up and actually how awful it was for them and how it's ruined their relationship and they're sort of going to freely talk about it, which has never happened between these two people.

Are there flashbacks? Like with younger versions of your characters?

Karen Gillan: No. Although that would be cool.

It would.

Karen Gillan: No, they just sort of talk about it.


Karen Gillan: And when they have a conversation, it's not like two normal sisters having a conversation, it's both a conversation with words and also physically. That's how they communicate through fighting, so there's a lot of that as well.

How does Nebula get along with the rest of the Guardians that we know besides her sister? How does she kind of interact with Groot or Rocket or Peter? Or is there really not a whole lot of interaction between the rest of the team?

Karen Gillan: There's definitely some interaction between all of them. I think her main focus is Gamora. Sorting out that situation. But she finds herself with all of them and I think she is unimpressed by Rocket. She's like, she doesn't know what he is as an animal. Like she doesn't understand him.

Kevin [Feige] explained that at the beginning that Nebula is being held captive by the Sovereign and that the Guardians are plotting to get her back. That's really all we know, so talk a little bit about how she gets into the rest of the story beyond just wanting to be in contact with Gamora.

Karen Gillan: Well that's her main objective throughout the entire film. She obviously takes many paths to sort of get there in any way she can, but she is being held captive. So she's there against her will, which is just a funny dynamic, because she's like, "Oh for goodness sake." Nothing like that. She doesn't sound like.

Yeah, I guess she doesn't really want to be there, but she does because she needs to sort out these things with her sister.

How much will we see Gamora interacting with new characters like Mantis or J'Son [Ego]?

Karen Gillan: We're going to see a fair bit of that. Yeah. Mantis is a great character by the way. It's so good.

Key Release Dates
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
  • Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
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