No one yet knows exactly what writer and director James Gunn has in store for the returning characters of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but one thing fans are hoping for is more screentime for Karen Gillan's Nebula. A longstanding figure of the Cosmic Marvel comics canon and a favorite among fans for her startling makeup design and Gillan's aggressive performance, Nebula's status following the defeat of Ronan The Accuser (Lee Pace) at the end of the first film is still largely unconfirmed for the sequel.
But while we may not know whether her role will be increased, Gillan wants us to know in no uncertain terms that she's back, posting a new image of herself back in blue to Twitter to prove it.
The new photo, which depicts Nebula's thigh and hand, doesn't reveal much beyond her costume and makeup, as those areas are similar the first film. It is worth noting, though, her uniform looks worse for wear, perhaps still reflecting the beating she took from Zoe Saldana's Gamora during the film's climax.
— Karen Gillan (@karengillan) February 24, 2016
Gunn had previously promised a dramatically expanded role for Nebula in the sequel, but has since declined to expand on what exactly that might entail. While in the film Nebula begins as the rebellious adopted daughter of supervillain Thanos, in the comics she has a much longer history as a solo villain in her own right -- a pirate and intergalactic warlord who has menaced The Avengers and participated in multiple cosmic-scale Marvel event storylines. Notably, she played a significant role in the original Infinity Gauntlet story, which is thought to serve as the basis for the upcoming two-part Avengers: Infinity War movie.
At this time, almost nothing is known of Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2's storyline, including whether or not Nebula's return will find her on the side of good or evil. The film's central villain is unknown, which means it's conceivable Gillan's character could find herself the film's primary antagonist. On the other hand, Gamora started out as (sort of) a villain in the first film, so a precedent has already been set for the series to rehabilitate its supporting villains. It's equally possible that her return could be even briefer than her original appearance, perhaps to set up a jump to another film or series in the future.
Set in the aftermath of the universe-shaking events of the original film, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2's top-secret plot is said to involve the discovery of Star Lord's (Christ Pratt) alien father, an unidentified role set to be played by Kurt Russell. While many fans were expecting fixtures of the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe to begin finding their way to the Guardians' side of the cosmos, that is apparently not in the cards as yet, despite character crossovers being a running theme of Marvel's Phase 3 movie releases. Gillan's Nebula joins a growing cast of returning favorites from the hit original, which currently includes Chris Pratt as Star Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, David Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016;Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017;Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.