In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Nebula’s character arc comes to a satisfying conclusion as she takes on the role of caretaker for abused star children, a decision that contradicts Thanos’ view of her as a weapon and allows her to process her trauma. Throughout the Infinity Saga, Thanos favored Nebula’s sister, Gamora, over her, which resulted in resentment between the sisters. While Gamora also endured abuse from Thanos, Nebula suffered even worse treatment, both emotionally and physically.
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However, Nebula’s storyline of seeking revenge against her father was not resolved in Avengers: Endgame. She never had the opportunity to confront Thanos for everything he did to her. But in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, director James Gunn found a way to give her a sweet ending that serves as the perfect vengeance against Thanos.
Gunn had the challenge of concluding the original team’s story in a way that didn’t involve major character deaths, similar to Avengers: Endgame. The third Guardians film had to stand on its own while still providing closure for the characters. Nebula’s ending showcases her retirement from space-hopping and her decision to settle in Knowhere, where she becomes the primary caretaker of the High Evolutionary’s star children.
The future of Nebula’s character in the MCU is uncertain. With Gunn officially leaving Marvel Studios, any future appearances by Nebula or the remaining cosmic heroes will be crafted by a different creative team. However, if Marvel Studios chooses to continue Nebula’s story based on her ending in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it would be a fitting and satisfying conclusion for her character.
Nebula’s decision to care for abused star children is fueled by her own traumatic childhood experiences. It also serves as a way to contradict Thanos’ perception of her as a weapon. Unlike Gamora, who was groomed to be Thanos’ successor, Nebula was seen as a tool by her father. He constantly upgraded and modified her, treating her as disposable. By choosing a path of peace and leaving behind the one forcibly set for her by Thanos, Nebula can finally process her trauma and move forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Overall, Nebula’s sweet ending in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 provides the perfect vengeance against Thanos for the abuse she endured. It also allows her character to grow and heal from her traumatic past, contradicting Thanos’ perception of her and giving her a satisfying conclusion to her story.