Karen Gillan, AKA GotG’s Nebula, catches up with STACK backstage at D23 Expo to talk Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
“It’s a wee bit chilly in here,” shivers Karen Gillan in that lyrical Scottish accent we rarely get to hear now that she is a fully-fledged member of the Marvel universe, reprising her Guardians of The Galaxy role of Nebula in next year’s hotly-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War.
The new film will unite all Marvel’s characters to fight one common enemy in the shape of Josh Brolin’s badass Thanos; Gillan jetting in today to meet STACK at Disney’s D23 Expo, and first entering our consciousness nine years ago as Dr Who’s assistant. She’s currently intent on keeping warm despite the ferocious air-conditioning back-stage at D23 in Anaheim, California.
Guardians of the Galaxy fans all have their favourite characters, but the GOTG relationship which most fascinates the movies’ two-time director James Gunn is the bad blood between space sisters, Zoe Saldana’s Gamora and Gillan’s Nebula, often teasing the idea of a spin-off just for the sisters. “Zoe and I are so invested in our characters – we really know who these girls are. We can look at each other and both start crying in a scene because we’re both so in it. My idea for it is that we go on a space road trip together and they’re bickering all the way, even arguing while we have to kill a big space monster,” suggests Gillan, 29.
Throughout her adventures as Nebula, she wrestles with the dynamic of sisterhood, given that she is an only child. “It’s hard for me to know what it’s like to be the least favourite child. I got so much attention as a child and stacks of Christmas presents every year. But I think a lot of people can relate to feeling overlooked or inferior in life. I’ve definitely felt those things as I think every human has.”
If she longs for a Nebula spin-off, then her prosthetic and make-up process is one of the more complex within the Marvel universe, often feeling envious of her co-star Pom Klementieff [Mantis] with whom she shares a make-up trailer. “Pom’s make-up only takes two hours so she would always arrive later than me and leave before I left. It takes four hours to turn me into Nebula – all the time listening to heavy-metal.
“The guys who do my make-up are these bad-ass heavily-tattooed men and yet do this beautiful delicate alien woman make-up. But they love heavy-metal so I’ve come to think it also suits Nebula very well,” says the actress who is rarely recognised as Nebula given that she looks so different off-screen.
While Infinity War sees the joining together of all the super-powers to take down Thanos – over the course of two epic movies – then given that Nebula is his daughter, it’s personal for Gillan. “She suffered years of abuse growing up with him so she harbours a lot of resentment and emotional anger toward him.”
If the Marvel world is a geek’s paradise, Gillan reckons there is no bigger geek than she: “I’ve just ordered from Amazon all the merchandise of me that exists – all of it! From Dr Who to Guardians and everything else.”
Now that she has exchanged her native Inverness for a Hollywood home and new office, she plans to furnish her workplace with shelves of memorabilia. “I can’t wait for it all to arrive. I hope there‘s enough room.”
WHAT’S NEXT IN THE MCU
Chris Hemsworth is back and mighty as ever in Thor: Ragnarok, hitting Australian cinemas October 26. Expect to find out what Thor and the Hulk were doing while they missed Civil War.
Chadwick Boseman is back for his own film, Black Panther. Now with the responsibility both of saviour and King, he must juggle his duties and face a new enemy in Wakanda.
Avengers: Infinity War
This is the big one. The events of the MCU so far have been leading up to this battle – between Thanos, the one chasing the Infinity Stones, and the Avengers – who have now joined forces with The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily are back to join Michael Douglas for the follow up to 2015’s Ant-Man. Hope will take on her mother’s former role as The Wasp – with a sick new costume to boot.