Warning! Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame below.
Karen Gillan has played Nebula in a few movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point, but she’s never had a bigger role than she did in Avengers: Endgame. As the closest character to Thanos, she was the one who knew where “the garden” was, the one who knew where the Power Stone was in the 2014, the one whose past self was allied to him – she was even trapped with Tony Stark at the beginning, kicking off the movie’s most tragic character arc as his pseudo space sidekick. She’s a pretty mysterious character, so here are ten Questions About Nebula, Answered.
10 Why did Thanos adopt Nebula?
In the comics, Nebula actually isn’t Thanos’ adopted daughter. She’s a pirate and mercenary who claims to be his biological granddaughter. In the movies, she’s much more subservient. Before she sees the evil in Thanos and turns against him, there’s nothing she won’t do for him. In the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, we see her on loan from Thanos to Ronan, who is using her as a personal assistant. If she’s willing to be pushed around like this, then of course Thanos would want her around. And if she sees him as a father figure, then it’ll be easier to get her to do his bidding and make her desperate for his approval. The plan worked perfectly.
9 Is Nebula a cyborg?
Nebula is not a cyborg; she is from an alien race called the Luphomoids. However, as she explained in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, to keep their sibling rivalry interesting, Thanos used to pit Nebula and Gamora against one another with the threat that the loser would have a body part replaced by a piece of cybernetic technology.
More often than not, Gamora won the fights, which is why Nebula is mostly cybernetic. This is why 2023 Nebula had more cyborg parts than 2014 Nebula, and why the latter had to break a couple of the former's cyborg parts off to disguise herself as her and sneak into Avengers HQ to bring down Thanos' reign of destruction.
8 Where are the other Luphomoids?
If Nebula is an alien called a Luphomoid, then where are the other Luphomoids? Why have we not seen anyone else from her species? Well, as it turns out, she’s one of the last Luphomoids. Luphom, the home planet of the Luphomoids, was destroyed by Galactus – the devourer of worlds – and he wiped out nearly every Luphomoid on there. Nebula was one of just four Luphomoids who survived the destruction of their planet. The other three are called Kraa, Xira, and Zorr, and it remains to be seen whether or not we’ll see them pop up in the MCU at any point in the future.
7 How strong is Nebula?
We’ve seen Nebula single-handedly defeat enemies that were far bigger than her in battle. Since they’re enormous and she appears small in comparison, it might seem as though they will have no problem besting her physically. But she always manages to defeat them, unless it becomes too much and needs Gamora’s help (but generally, she can handle herself in a fight), because she’s deceptively strong. So, how strong is she? In Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files – The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Nebula’s strength is ranked as a 4 on the Power Grid scale, meaning that she’s strong enough to lift between 800 lbs to 25 tons.
6 How did Nebula bring Thanos and his armies to the future?
In 2014, Thanos and evil past Nebula get intel from 2023 Nebula’s mind that in 2023, Thanos has been killed and his master plan has succeeded and is in the process of being reversed. So, 2014 Nebula goes back to 2023 in 2023 Nebula’s place and uses the Avengers’ time machine to bring Thanos and his armies into the future to destroy them. But how did she know how to use the time machine? And how was it used on that scale? Well, the only indication about this that we have is the fact that 2014 Nebula stole 2023 Nebula’s time device and Thanos had nine years to replicate its technology on a larger scale before he needed to be brought into the future.
5 Why did Thanos prefer Gamora to Nebula?
Part of what messed Nebula up and drove a wedge between her and Gamora was that Gamora was clearly Thanos’ favorite child. But why was she the favorite child? Well, it’s because Gamora was a winner and Nebula was not. Thanos, as a conqueror of worlds, appreciates a winner. Whenever he forced Gamora and Nebula to fight each other, Gamora won. Whenever Nebula went on a solo mission, Gamora had to swoop in and save her. Gamora was just better than Nebula, and Thanos rewarded that with negative reinforcement against Nebula, hoping it would make her better. In the end, it just made her betray him.
4 How did Thanos capture Nebula in Infinity War?
When we meet Nebula in Infinity War, she’s been imprisoned by Thanos, who uses her as a bargaining chip to get Gamora to bring him to the Soul Stone’s location on Vormir. This was after Gamora and Nebula had made friends in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
But how did he manage to capture her in the first place? He actually explains this at one point in the movie: “Some time ago, your sister snuck aboard this ship to kill me and very nearly succeeded.” Nebula tried to kill him, he overpowered her, and then he strung her up with electricity and tortured her.
3 How did Nebula nearly kill Thanos?
When Thanos tells Gamora about Nebula’s attempt on his life, he tells her that she “very nearly succeeded” in killing him. Only the most powerful characters in the MCU, like Thor and Captain Marvel – and later, Tony Stark with the Infinity Stones in his hand – have even come close to killing Thanos. So, what did Nebula do to earn entry into the Thanos-killing club? It’s never explained or shown on-screen, but we can guess that she “snuck aboard this ship” while he was sleeping and then stabbed him, yet missed a vital organ or artery. So, he woke up and overpowered her. Like Thor, she should’ve gone for the head.
2 Is Nebula an Avenger?
The appointment process for Avengers these days seems to be very loose. If you join Cap and Iron Man in one battle, it seems that you qualify to be an Avenger. In the final battle of Avengers: Endgame, as Captain America prepares to face Thanos and his armies alone and is then joined by everyone who disappeared in the snap, he says, “Avengers, assemble,” seemingly naming them all as honorary Avengers. Nebula was there the whole time. She was given a white Quantum Realm suit with the “A” logo on it. So, it seems like she is an Avenger. However, at the end of Endgame, the Avengers disbanded. You can’t be an Avenger if there’s no such thing as the Avengers. But she is a Guardian of the Galaxy now.
1 Is Nebula dead?
When Tony Stark nabbed the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Endgame and snapped his fingers, wiping out Thanos and his armies but also killing himself, he turned the evil 2014 Nebula to dust. However, the second version of Nebula – our Nebula from 2023 – survived the second snap and joined the Guardians of the Galaxy on their ship at the end of the movie. It seems as though she will now join the Guardians as a full-on member in their adventure in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, whenever that happens. One thing’s clear from Thor and Quill’s debate: she won’t be the team’s leader.