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How Nebula Changed Across The Guardians of the Galaxy Movies

Karen Gillan’s Nebula has emerged as a true fan favorite in the Guardians Of The Galaxy series – here’s how the character has evolved in the MCU. The original Guardians Of The Galaxy was considered something of a risk for Marvel since it was diving into the previously untapped cosmic side of the universe, but thanks to James Gunn’s direction and great casting, it proved to be one of the MCU’s strongest entries to date.

Guardians Of The Galaxy introduced beloved characters like Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and Rocket Raccoon and expanded the scope of the franchise. While Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 wasn’t as warmly received, it introduced new members to the core team while revealing the truth about Star-Lord’s (Chris Pratt) father. Fans will have to wait a while for Guardians Of The Galaxy 3, however, with director James Gunn currently working on The Suicide Squad for DC.

Related: The Marvel/DC War Is Over, Thanks To James Gunn

The Guardians Of The Galaxy movies also introduced Nebula, the adopted daughter of intergalactic warlord Thanos (Josh Brolin) and adopted sister of Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Nebula was an orphan trained from an early age to be an assassin for Thanos and grew to form a bond with Gamora. However, Nebula’s love for her sister turned to hate when they were forced by Thanos to spar, and since Gamora was the superior fighter, Nebula always lost. This led Thanos to replace parts of her with cybernetics after each defeat.

Avengers Endgame Nebula on Titan

In Guardians Of The Galaxy, both sisters are loaned by Thanos to Kree warlord Ronan The Accuser to retrieve an Orb containing the Power Stone. Nebula’s hatred for her father is such that once Ronan decides to keep it, Nebula switches to his side if Ronan agrees to kill Thanos. In the first movie, Nebula is consumed with hatred for her father and sister, with revenge being her only real motivating factor. In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, she’s captured by the Guardians and the mutual hatred between the two sisters runs high. After escaping with the help of the Ravagers, Nebula steals a ship and tries to kill Gamora on Ego’s planet.

They have an epic brawl, leading to an emotional conversation about how Nebula felt betrayed by her sister, who refused to let her win in their sparring sessions just once. She later helps the Guardians fight Ego and somewhat reconciles with Gamora before leaving to find Thanos. It’s revealed in Avengers: Infinity War she tried – and nearly succeeded – in killing Thanos, but he captured her. He tortures her to force Gamora to reveal the location of the Soul Stone. During the Battle Of Titan, Thanos reveals he sacrificed Gamora to gain the Stone and he later succeeds in wiping out half the universe, including most of the Guardians.

Like Loki, Nebula has evolved in the Guardians Of The Galaxy series from the villainous sibling of a lead character to something of an anti-hero. Her burning hatred for Thanos is still a motivating factor, but her dislike of Gamora came from feelings of hurt and once they resolved this, she gains an understanding of her sister's perspective. Nebula will likely play a big role in Thanos' downfall in Avengers: Endgame, since she survived the snap and knows her father better than anyone else. What she’ll do after this, if she even survives the final battle, will be interesting to see.

Next: Thanos’ Role In Guardians Of The Galaxy Explained

Key Release Dates
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
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