One of the surprise standout characters in Avengers: Endgame came in Karen Gillen's Nebula. After being one of the two Guardians characters still alive after Thanos' snap, audiences got to see an entirely different side of her. This included caring for Tony Stark when he was on the brink of death, connecting with the Avengers themselves, and even convincing Gamora to betray her father in an alternate timeline—a direct parallel to what happened in the prime MCU.
So, given that the film has long since come and gone, what's in the cards for the character? Her next appearance is actually rather soon, as she is set to play a role in Thor: Love and Thunder alongside the other Guardians.
Signs point to their part in the story as being a small one, but thankfully, fans won't need to wait long to see the band of misfits once again. Next summer, James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will hit theaters, giving the crew their first solo film since 2017.
During the press for her new upcoming film Dual, Karen Gillan teased how Nebula will have changed by that point, and how those changes may translate onto the screen.
The Aftermath of Avengers: Endgame
In an interview with Gizmodo, Nebula actor Karen Gillan teased what's ahead for her character in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Gillan revealed that she finds it "really interesting to explore how this character starts to heal... and become" after Thanos has been removed from the board:
“One of the most interesting things about Nebula for me was her relationship with her father and sister... and now that her father, Thanos, has been eliminated, he was the source of all of her torment and abuse. It’s really interesting to explore how this character starts to heal and who this character starts to become now that the threat that was always looming over her is gone. So I’ve been having a lot of fun with that.”
The actress noted how audiences are "definitely going to see a new version of the character," teasing that she might even have "a little more levity:"
“What can I tell you without telling you?... I mean, she’s definitely going to become a slightly different person as the events unfold after all those events in Endgame. So we’re definitely going to see a new version of the character. Maybe a looser version of the character? Maybe a little more levity? But we’ll see because I haven’t actually seen the movie yet.”
Gillen concluded by saying that "[Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3] is going to be an amazing adventure for the Guardians:"
"This is going to be an amazing adventure for the Guardians,” Gillan said. “And also, maybe we might be closing out a final chapter for the Guardians as we know it.”
A New Version of Nebula?
The Nebula fans had known for so long, as seen in her appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, was fairly brash, stubborn, and just not all around a team player. Yet, thanks to her father's death in Avengers: Endgame, all of those qualities of hers seem to be working themselves out.
Just the fact she ever worked with the Avengers at all is a big deal. With the teases Gillan gave above, it seems that audiences may have to get used to a more loose and funny version of the character—though, no doubt any of her humor is likely to be of the dark and dry variety.
Will fans get a good glimpse of this new and improved (former) daughter of Thanos in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, or will those qualities not truly show themselves until Vol. 3. Given how Chris Hemsworth's next film is directed by Taika Waititi, it would be hard to believe that he wouldn't have tried to squeeze every ounce of comedic value from every character he had his hands on.
Needless to say, seeing Nebula theoretically crack consistent jokes is going to take some getting used to.
Thor: Love and Thunder releases on July 8, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will hit theaters on May 5, 2023