Marvel’s Karen Gillan reveals which two actors inspired Nebula

Guardians of the Galaxy actress Karen Gillan has opened up about which actors influenced her portrayal of Nebula in the Marvel series of movies.

The star, who rose to fame playing Amy Pond on Doctor Who, first played the role of the daughter of Thanos in the 2014 movie, where she chases down her sister Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and her new team on half of Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser.

Nebula is the main female villain in this film but she turned around in her later appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.

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Speaking to Total Film recently, the actress revealed the unlikely inspiration for her character: “Nebula in the Marvel movies is based on Clint Eastwood.”

But it wasn’t all her idea to have this alien cyborg channel the same energy of a Western gunman.

“I turned up to set, and I was kind of playing a generic villain for my first day. I was like, ‘Who is this character? I’m just kind of plain evil’.

“And then [director] James Gunn said: ‘Now, can you do an impression of Marilyn Monroe and Clint Eastwood?’ So she’s a hybrid of both of those people.”

nebula in avengers

Marvel Studios

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The Scottish actress’ latest project is Gunpowder Milkshake, which sees her as a young assassin named Sam who must team up with her estranged assassin mother (played by Game of Thrones‘ Lena Headey) and her former colleagues (Carla Gugino, Michelle Yeoh, and Angela Bassett) in order to save a young girl (Chloe Coleman) from even more assassins.

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, Gillan drew a similarity between Sam and Nebula, saying: “I’m always looking for characters that have an emotional hook that I can grab on to and be like alright, I can run with this, and this is going to inform all sorts of different aspects of the character.

“In Gunpowder Milkshake my character was abandoned by her mother when she was a kid, and so I can then sort of thread that through the whole performance, and it manifests in all sorts of different ways.

karen gillan, gunpowder milkshake

STX Films

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“And then, Nebula in the Marvel films, she was the overlooked sibling so… it’s probably that I’m looking for that emotional hook, and then trying to inject it with… it’s not something necessarily that lives on the surface for the characters, it’s not overt in the way that they interact with something. It’s more subtle.”

Gillan is set to reprise her role as Nebula in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Next, she will appear in the satirical sci-fi comedy Dual alongside Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul and Jesse Eisenberg.

Guardians of the Galaxy vol 1 and vol 2 are available to stream not on Disney+.

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