- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Nebula from the Marvel Cinematic film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Nebula (Marvel).
|“||As a child, my father would have Gamora and me battle one another in training. Every time my sister prevailed, my father would replace a piece of me with machinery, claiming he wanted me to be "her equal". But she won, again and again, and again - never once refraining! So after I murder my sister, I will buy a warship with every conceivable machine of death. I will hunt my father like a dog and I will tear him apart slowly, piece by piece, until he knows some [...] of the profound and unceasing pain I know EVERY! SINGLE! DAY!||„|
|~ Nebula's motivation.|
Nebula is a major character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She served as the secondary antagonist of Guardians of the Galaxy, as the anti-heroic tritagonist of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and as one of the tritagonists of Avengers: Infinity War. She also reappears in Avengers: Endgame as one of the titular protagonists, while her 2014 self serves as one of the two secondary antagonists (alongside 2014 Ebony Maw).
Nebula is the adopted daughter of Thanos, a former assassin of the Black Order, adoptive sister of Gamora (a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy), and one of the two loyal enforcers of Ronan the Accuser (the other being Korath the Pursuer).
She was portrayed by Karen Gillan in her first villainous role.
Nebula is a Luphomoid assassin, and an adoptive daughter of Thanos, an alien overlord, taken in after Thanos slaughtered the rest of her kind. She was put under the tutelage of Thanos' henchman Ronan the Accuser to become a "Galaxy-Class Killer", and would connect with other Thanos minions like Gamora, a Zephoberei whose race was slaughtered by Thanos too, and Korath.
Despite her loyalty to Thanos, Gamora was considered his "favorite daughter" however, even though Nebula was jealous of her, she liked her to an extent, saying "Of all our siblings, I hated you the least". Thanos was obsessed with acquiring the Infinity Stones, objects of great power that he could use for his purposes, later coming into possession of the Mind Stone and placing it in a spear that channeled its power.
Gamora and Nebula were told that they were important to their father, but he was vague about what they could do to avoid them using the stones to betray him. In the prequel comic Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude, Nebula and Gamora sparred, with Nebula ending up falling down a cliff, forcing her to have most of her body fitted with cybernetic parts, making her a cyborg in Guardians of the Galaxy.
However, Nebula claims that Thanos regularly forced Gamora and Nebula to fight each other and every time Nebula lost, Thanos replaced a piece of her body with machinery to make the battle more equal. Later in the same comic, Thanos sent Gamora and Nebula to Praxius IX to get the Orb, which contained the Power Stone, but Nebula became trapped in a net. Thanos refused to let Gamora save her, and so Nebula was left with a sharp blade to free herself; she amputated her arm to do so.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Nebula first appears alongside Ronan, her former master. She witnessed the death of The Other, before she met with Thanos, her father. When Thanos wanted to obtain the Orb for unrevealed reasons, Ronan sent Gamora to retrieve the orb, but Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star-Lord) interferes with Gamora, both ending up in prison. Eventually, Gamora joined the Guardians, which left Nebula as Ronan's only enforcer (with the exception of Korath).
Sometime later, Drax, one of the Guardians, contacted Ronan while insane, in which Ronan quickly came to Knowhere to search the one who made the call. When Ronan found out it was Drax, he dealt with him while Nebula was in search of the Orb. She made an attempt to kill Gamora, but Star-Lord saved her in time. Nebula was able to retrieve the Orb. They eventually learned that the Orb held an Infinity Stone, Ronan was going to give it to Thanos, but instead, he betrays Thanos by keeping it to himself, intending to use it to destroy Xandar himself before destroying Thanos himself. Out of spite against Thanos for favoring Gamora, Nebula offers to help Ronan destroy a thousand planets in exchange for killing Thanos.
Nebula was still following orders from Ronan to destroy Xandar, which they were planning to destroy with Ronan's behemoth ship. The Guardians, with the help of the Nova Corps, eventually stormed through Ronan's ship and dealt with Korath, who was killed by Drax. Gamora was sent to open a door, but Nebula was sent to defend. Gamora and Nebula had a swordfight during when Ronan was trying to annihilate Xandar. Gamora got the winning hand and cornered Nebula to a cliff on Ronan's ship. Nebula let go and fell to her presumed death. Nebula, however, landed on one of the Ravager attack quads and tried to attack. She then escaped the war and left Ronan's side. She was never seen again in the film.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Before the event of the film, Nebula infiltrated the planet of the Sovereign and attempted to steal some of the Sovereign's energy batteries. However, she was captured and imprisoned by the Sovereign high priestess Ayesha until the Guardians of the Galaxy arrived at the Sovereign planet and offered to battle the Abilisk in exchange for Nebula. After the beast is killed, Ayesha keeps her word and delivers Nebula into Gamora's custody. On their way back to Xandar, where Nebula is to be imprisoned, their spaceship crashes. While most of the team travel on with their newfound ally, Ego, Rocket, and Groot remain in the wreck to guard Nebula.
However, when the Yondu Ravager Clan turns up to capture the Guardians, Rocket runs off to meet them in battle. While he is gone, Nebula manages to convince Groot to free her so that she can help Rocket. However, this is a lie, and once she had been freed, she is revealed to have tricked him. After Rocket has been captured by the Ravagers and Yondu refuses to assist in murdering the Guardians, a mutiny (led by Taserface) ensues. Nebula turns up just in time to witness the beginning of the mutiny and assists the mutineers by shooting the fin from Yondu's head with which he controls his telepathic arrow. She also blasts her gun at Rocket, electrocuting him.
With Taserface now leading the Ravagers, Nebula sets off with them in their spaceship. However, after advising Taserface and his men to deliver the Guardians and Yondu to the Kree for maximal payment, she decides to set off on her own in order to kill Gamora and to track down and murder Thanos afterwards. Kraglin Obfonteri presents her with a spaceship and Nebula leaves the Ravager-base. In her spaceship, Nebula returns to Ego's planet. There, she spots Gamora sitting alone in a field.
She immediately heads her spaceship towards Gamora and starts firing. Gamora avoids being hit by jumping over a cliff but Nebula turns her ship around, again and again, continuously shooting lasers at Gamora. Nebula even continues following Gamora when Gamora flees into a cave, causing the ship to crash as the cave is to narrow for its wings. This gives Gamora the opportunity to fire back, destroying the ship and trapping Nebula in the burning wreckage. Gamora pulls her sister out of the wreck seconds before it explodes.
Although both women are weakened, Nebula continues attacking Gamora until she eventually overpowers her and is able to draw a knife. However, she is unable to go through with murdering her sister and drops her. Nonetheless, she claims that she won and finally bested Gamora in combat, referring to the fights Thanos had them both fight when they were young. She spitefully confronts Gamora with the fact that Thanos forcefully turned her into a cyborg, ripping out her body-parts piece by piece only because Gamora was unwilling to let herself get defeated in their battles. She then claims that all she was wanted back then was a sister and that Gamora was all she had.
The two then try to get back to the surface, but while they walk, they suddenly find a chamber deep inside the planet, filled, to their combined horror, with corpses and skeletons. They both realize that Ego is up to no good, and Nebula unnecessarily declares, "We have to get off this planet!" She then joins the team in attempting to defeat him. While doing so, Nebula and Yondu manage to destroy the Sovereign fleet hunting the Guardians. During the final battle against the living planet, Nebula even saves Gamora's life.
Avengers: Infinity War
Nebula returns in Infinity War, where she is kidnapped and tortured by Thanos, who is furious for her betrayal against him, even though this wasn't remotely “betrayal”, as she already hated him. After collecting three of the Infinity Stones, Thanos kidnaps Gamora and forces her to reveal the location of the Soul Stone (the planet Vormir) by threatening to torture Nebula more. After Gamora gives out the location, Thanos leaves Nebula behind while taking Gamora to Vormir, where he reluctantly kills Gamora to get hold of the Soul Stone.
Nebula eventually escaped from her confinement and contacted the other Guardians to meet her at the planet Titan, where they meet up with Tony Stark, Peter Parker, and Stephen Strange. However, Thanos arrived at the scene as he plans to collect the Time Stone from Strange. Nebula arrived later on and managed to distract him long enough for the heroes to barely subdue Thanos. However, Nebula soon learned in horror that he killed Gamora to take hold of the Soul Stone and implied this to Quill but never actually said it, apparently knowing of his relationship with Gamora and sympathizing for his loss, which caused Quill to get furious and attack Thanos, but the latter managed to beat them all before forcing Strange to surrender the Time Stone.
After collecting the Mind Stone from Earth, Thanos used the power of all six Infinity Stones to wipe out half of the universe's populace. Though Nebula has survived Thanos' slaughter, she is horrified to see Quill, Drax, Mantis, Parker and Strange perish away to their deaths, leaving her and Stark as the only survivors left in Titan. This made both a distraught Nebula and Stark realize that Thanos has finally accomplished his goal as the latter is last seen watching a sunrise from another planet.
Following the events of Infinity War, Nebula and Tony Stark piloted the Benatar to leave Titan and set a course to Earth. However, they are stranded in deep space with the ship suddenly halted due to its power distribution cells being severely damaged during the battle on Titan. Fortunately, they were rescued by Captain Marvel, who brought their ship back to Earth.
Upon hearing of Thanos' current location in an uninhabited planet and sensing that he used the Stones again, Nebula tagged along with the Avengers to confront Thanos in hope of retrieving the Stones and reverse the death wave. However, Thanos taunted them by confessing that he actually destroyed the Stones prior to their arrival so that no one can reverse the death wave. At first, the other Avengers refused to believe this, but Nebula points out that Thanos isn't a liar in spite of his notorious crimes. Thanos thanks Nebula for pointing that out and admits that he was wrong to be too harsh on her, but this provoked an angry Thor to decapitate him. In spite of her hatred towards Thanos, Nebula was touched by Thanos' last words and mourns for him by closing his eyelids out of respect.
For the next five years, Nebula helped the Avengers in maintaining control throughout the universe, despite the surviving half of the populace being unable to move on due to their losses caused by Thanos. However, Ant-Man returns from the Quantum Realm and revealed that it took him five hours to get out after he entered the Quantum Realm prior to the death wave. Upon learning this, the Avengers realized that they could use the Quantum Realm to create a time machine to travel back in time to retrieve the Infinity Stones and use them to reverse the death wave for good.
Nebula was tasked alongside War Machine to go back in 2014 Morag, where they would have to steal the Power Stone. Though they were successful in gaining the Power Stone, Nebula soon learned that her cybernetic implants are interfacing with those of her past self, prevent herself from returning to the present. Through the interfaces, the 2014 Thanos soon learned about the Avengers' current plot to reverse the death wave and captured the present Nebula before sending the past Nebula in her place.
With that in mind, the past Nebula travels to the present, where she witnessed the Avengers creating a new Infinity Gauntlet to hold all the Stones before using them to reverse the death wave, reviving those who have perished. While they do so, the past Nebula takes control of the time machine, allowing herself to transport the 2014 Thanos and the Black Order, and their vast armies of Chitauri soldiers, Leviathans, and Sakaaran Mercenaries. Thanos then laid down an attack at the Avengers HQ, and the past Nebula spots Hawkeye retrieving the Gauntlet. The past Nebula takes the Gauntlet from Hawkeye and intends to deliver it to Thanos, only to be confronted by the present Nebula, who has been freed by the 2014 Gamora. Both Nebula and the 2014 Gamora then tried to convince the 2014 Nebula to sever her ties with Thanos and do the right thing, but the 2014 Nebula refuses and tries to shoot the 2014 Gamora. This forces Nebula to take action by shooting down her 2014 self, saving the 2014 Gamora. Nebula and Gamora would later help the other revived heroes in warding off Thanos and his forces.
Following the deaths of the 2014 Thanos and his remaining forces, Nebula (along with the other revived Guardians of the Galaxy) attended Stark's funeral (as Stark sacrificed himself to use the Stones to defeat Thanos and his forces). She would later join up with the Guardians (and Thor) in hopes of finding the 2014 Gamora.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Karen Gillan is set to return as Nebula in the upcoming third film.
Like Gamora, Nebula despised Thanos for his harsh treatment of her, but nonetheless, they both constantly strive for his approval. She became jealous of Gamora for being the one Thanos loved the most, but still liked her to an extent, hating her the least out of "all [their] siblings". Her hatred of Thanos was fueled over this, to the point that she sided with Ronan after retrieving the Orb; since he was now able to kill Thanos with the Orb's power, she decided that she would do whatever he wanted as long as her father was destroyed.
Gamora, however, didn't hate Nebula, and even tried to convince her to help stop Ronan from destroying Xandar; however, she chose not to and amputated her own robot arm to escape the Dark Aster, escaping on a Ravager ship for parts unknown.
Her 2014 self, on the other hand, openly served Thanos and even sought an opportunity to use the time machine for 2014 Thanos to attack Avengers HQ. Unlike her present self, she is defiant and refuses to betray Thanos, which led to her ultimate demise by her present self.
- Ronan the Accuser † - Former Master
- Korath the Pursuer †
- The Other †
- Guardians of the Galaxy - Enemies Turned Teammates and Closest Friends
- Peter Quill/Star-Lord - Enemy and Attempted Victim Turned Close Friend and Team Leader
- Gamora - Adoptive Sister, Arch-Enemy and Arch-Rival, Attempted Victim and Attempted Killer Turned Best Friend and Teammate
- Drax the Destroyer - Enemy, Attempted Victim and Attempted Killer Turned Close Friend and Teammate
- Groot - Enemy and Attempted Victim Turned Close Friend and Teammate
- Rocket Raccoon - Enemy and Attempted Victim Turned Close Friend and Teammate
- Mantis - Close Friend and Teammate
- Thor Odinson - Close Friend and Teammate
- Yondu Udonta † - Enemy and Attempted Victim Turned Close Friend, Teammate, and Savior
- Kraglin Obfonteri
- Avengers - Friends and Former Teammates
- Steve Rogers/Captain America
- Tony Stark/Iron Man
- Peter Parker/Spider-Man
- Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange
- Bruce Banner/Hulk
- Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow †
- Clint Barton/Hawkeye - Rescuee
- James Rhodes/War Machine
- Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel - Savior
- Scott Lang/Ant-Man
- Sam Wilson/Falcon
- Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
- Masters of the Mystic Arts
- Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange
- Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
- Pepper Potts
- Golden Tribe
- T'Challa/Black Panther
- Dora Milaje
- Jabari Tribe
- Wakandan Royal Guard
- Hope van Dyne/Wasp
- Sakaaran Rebellion
- Howard the Duck
- Thanos - Adoptive Father and Former Master
- Black Order - Adoptive Siblings and Former Allies
- Nova Corps
- Head Riot Guard † - Victim
- Ego † - Attempted Killer
- Sovereign - Former Captors
- Taserface's Ravagers - Former Partners
- Taserface †
- Gef †
- Halfnut †
- Wretch †
- Brahl †
- Scrote †
- Narblik †
- Nebula - 2014 counterpart †
- Her landing on a ship and throwing the pilot out in Guardians of the Galaxy is baring similarities of how the T-1000 threw a pilot out of a helicopter in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
- After the first movie, she retreats from the Dark Aster, just as Starscream retreats in Transformers.
- In the original Marvel Comics, Nebula is a space pirate and mercenary. She at one point claimed that Thanos was her grandfather. During the Infinity Gauntlet story, she saw him use the Gauntlet's power to kill the cosmic entity Eternity and take his place; Nebula, furious at Thanos for turning her into a grotesque zombie-like creature, took the Gauntlet from him and restored herself to health, banishing Thanos from the universe so she could use the Gauntlet herself. Doctor Strange, however, assembled a team of heroes to defeat her, with Thanos himself as an aloof ally, tricking her into undoing everything Thanos did with the power the Gauntlet gave and was imprisoned in a Titanian prison.
- In the Prelude comic to the first movie, Nebula's left arm is depicted as robotic, removing it with a blade to escape a trap; however, in the movie, it was seemingly-organic.
- Prior to Karen Gillan taking the role of Nebula, Gal Gadot, who currently serves as Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe, was up for the role.
- Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Nebula is one of the two former minions of Thanos (the other is the 2014 Gamora) who survived the events.
- Nebula was Karen Gillan's first villainous role.