Karen Gillan is a mainstay of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She signed up for a single appearance as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy but brought such life to the role that Marvel Studios brought back for the sequel. Nebula's story has since extended in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. But Gillan tried out for a different role in a different Marvel Studios film before auditioning for Nebula. Marvel Studios casting director Sarah Finn reveals Gillan auditioned to play Agent 13, Sharon Carter. "I had been a fan of Karen," Finn says in the Sarah Finn: Casting a Universe extra included with Avengers: Endgame on Disney+. "She came and she had auditioned for Agent 13 in Captain America."
Emily VanCamp ended up in the role of Agent 13, but Finn kept her eye on Gillan. Finn brought Gillan back in when it came time to cast Jame Gunn's first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. "Karen was someone who was an incredibly grounded and solid actor but who was also cooky and charming in the most wonderful way," Finn says. "Even though she had never played a character like Nebula, I was really interested to see her read. So, she came in and auditioned. James described Nebula as being somewhat childlike and Karen having this kind of cherubic beauty mixed with the darkness that she was able to convey."
Gillan will return as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. She hopes the film offers her a chance to explore Nebula's relationship with Gamora (Zoe Saldana) outside of the shadow of Thanos. "I don't know. I think I would love to see what their relationship is now that their father, the source of the abuse, is out of the picture," Gillan said during a convention appearance. "I think that would be really interesting to see if they can form a normal, sisterly, loving relationship."
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Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in spring 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk are also in the works for Disney+.