Guardians 3: Karen Gillan Celebrates Nebula's Surprising Upgrade

By Gillian Blum Updated:
Nebula using her rocket arm in Guardians of the Galaxy 3

MCU Nebula actor Karen Gillan highlighted a new power upgrade for her character in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

The third installment in the Guardians franchise promises developments for many of the fan-favorite characters, with one featured in various pieces of promotion being Nebula's upgraded arm.

While a robotic arm may seem, Nebula's bionic body parts are key components of her backstory, as her body was altered by her father, Thanos, any time she lost a fight to her sister, Gamora.

As such, an update to these bionics could symbolize an emotional shift away from the abuse in her past — a character evolution Gillan herself has discussed. Rumors even indicate that the sisterly relationship, which, again, is what led to the robotic replacements across Nebula's body in the first place, might be at the heart of the upcoming film.

Even More Power to Nebula's Upgraded Arm

Nebula's already-upgraded arm in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was just revealed to be even more powerful than first meets the eye, with its newly featured ability to turn into a blaster.

Nebula in footage from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, using her left robotic arm as a blaster.
Marvel Studios

While footage of Nebula's upgraded arm had already been revealed in stills and the first trailer for Guardians 3, new footage promoting the movie offers a glimpse at the arm's additional capabilities.

Nebula in blurry footage from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, using her left robotic arm as a blaster.
Marvel Studios

At the 12-second mark of the new footage, Nebula is seen shooting a glowing, yellow-ish energy burst from a circular hole in her arm — which now appears like a powerful blaster weapon.

The blaster maintains the tendril-covered, chain-like appearance of the upgraded arm fans previously saw, but adds a fiery orange glow to the design.

Karen Gillan, who plays Nebula in the MCU, retweeted a video of this blast from the footage from @brkarengillan, commenting "New arm who dis? #nebula."

A Symbolic Power Upgrade for Nebula

As previously mentioned, Nebula's robotic body parts play a symbolic role in the hero's backstory, being a physical representation of the abuse she went through as the daughter of Thanos.

Given the apparent focus on Rocket Raccoon's backstory, which seems to heavily involve non-consensual body modification, if the trailers are anything to go by, the impact of such body modification could be a focus of Guardians 3.

With the film developing several backstories and appearing to delve into the trauma behind the fan-favorite Guardians of the Galaxy, it would make sense to include a discussion of Nebula's storied past, and how that impacts who she is today.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on Friday. May 5.

- In This Article: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Release Date
May 05, 2023
- About The Author: Gillian Blum
Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.