In Avengers: Endgame, Karen Gillan revealed which part was completely spontaneous and improvised.
While in discussion with The Wrap over Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Gillan spoke at length about the expanded opportunities for improvisation, as well as her experiences filming Endgame. She said that she and Robert Downey Jr. almost entirely improvised the opening of the film, where we saw Nebula and Tony Stark bonding in the face of certain death.
“I will say, I’ve improvised a fair bit of Nebula. Because I don’t know if you saw Endgame, which seems like [laughs]. That’s a ridiculous question. But basically, all of the stuff with Robert Downey Jr. [who portrays Tony Stark/Iron Man] at the beginning was like, that whole montage was improvised. Because all that was written was oh, they play football. They eat, they do this. And then we kind of ended up getting to improvise because he’s an amazing improviser. And so there was all this stuff about them playing the game and how much it meant to Nebula that she actually got to win something. And so she’s been slowly getting more improv-y.”
As the two reach their final moments on board the Benetar ship, the flick-football game is the first heartwarming moment in a three-hour action spectacle. While they were saved by Captain Marvel, it’s uncertain how long Iron Man and Nebula were trapped in space.
Nebula’s arc since her introduction in the first Guardians movie has seen her transform from a ruthless assassin obsessed with one-upmanship to a defender of the universe. It is unknown what the future holds for her character in Guardians of the Galaxy 3, but there will certainly be more genuine moments from Scottish actress.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is set to release this May 5, 2023.