Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.

DISCLAIMER: The following article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Thor: Love and Thunder, and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

RELATED: Looking for another strong female crush? Check out our Geek Girl Authority Crushes of the Week here!


Fast Facts:

Karen Gillan as Nebula.

“Swords are fun.”

Nebula (Karen Gillan) was introduced in Guardians Vol 1 as an antagonist to the titular team. Among the Guardians roster at that time was Gamora (Zoë Saldaña), sister to Nebula. At this point, Nebula was working for their adopted father, Thanos (Josh Brolin). At the climax of this movie, Nebula chops off her own arm to escape a confrontation with Gamora.

Guardians Vol 2 opens with the eponymous team defeating a monster in exchange for the imprisoned Nebula. While she is unwillingly taken aboard the Benatar, she subsequently escapes her restraints and pursues Gamora to Ego the Living Planet. There, the confrontation between the sisters transpires. This ultimately allows Nebula and Gamora to realign their relationship.

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However, Nebula is subsequently captured by Thanos. In Infinity War, we see how Thanos, the person who replaced Nebula’s organic elements with cybernetic parts in the first place, is able to cause Nebula extreme pain. Gamora is able to rescue her sister. Unfortunately, Thanos murders Gamora shortly afterward.

Guardians of the Galaxy:

In Endgame, we see that as a survivor of the Snap, Nebula joins the Guardian’s roster during the Blip. Over the course of the movie, Nebula affirms that this rebuilt, heroic version is the path forward by defeating a time travel duplicate of her younger, more evil self.

When the Guardians appear in Love and Thunder, Nebula continues to occupy a key role on the roster. However, it is the Holiday Special that shows how close Nebula has grown to her fellow Guardians. At one point, she demonstrates how comfortable she is on Knowhere by dancing her awkward dance.

The Real Deal: 

Nebula is the real deal. Thanks to her cybernetic augmentations and years of involuntary training, she is one of the most lethal individuals in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We know just how dangerous this makes her because we saw an antagonistic Nebula in action back in Vol 1. However, Nebula’s decisions and development in the movies since have seen the character evolve into a genuine superhero.

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In spite of her confirmed role on the Guardians roster, Nebula continues to have a complicated relationship with her time-travel duplicate sister. Her somewhat brusque demeanor coupled with her obvious cybernetic enhancement could make her the oddball of the group. Fortunately, the other oddballs who round out the Guardians team accept her for who she is.

Why She Matters:

Karen Gillan as Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Deck the Knowhere.

Why does Nebula matter? She proves that even if you’ve been cast into the role of villain, you can rebuild yourself as the hero that you were always meant to be. Through her relationship with Gamora, she shows how letting go of her past can not only renew a bond but lead to a whole new-found family. And she demonstrates how much growth and change are possible once one’s internal demons have been slain.

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So, be like Nebula. Don’t let anyone else define your identity, even if that person wields unimaginable power. Remember that allies who have been hurt by the same enemies as you have may sometimes appear as villains to your own distorted vision, and do not be afraid to reassess. And while you may not have chosen to have those cybernetic augmentations implanted, remember: that doesn’t mean you can’t do some really neat stuff with them afterward.

You can stream the MCU movies featuring Nebula on Disney+.


Avery Kaplan