Since many people had never even heard of these characters before Marvel announced that James Gunn would be making a “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie due out in 2014, it’s remarkable how much audiences became invested in this bunch of misfits and, specifically, the bond shared between Gamora and Peter. I can’t imagine many shippers felt strongly that Quill should’ve ended up with the former-villain-turned-Guardian Nebula, and it doesn’t seem like Gunn did, either. But in an interview with The New York Times, the writer/director admitted that Karen Gillan played the character as if she were nursing a small crush on the bumbling hero. When asked about the implications of the embarrassing exchange between Gamora, Quill, and Nebula in “Vol 3,” Gunn had this to say:
“I never thought about fully going there, but do I think that Nebula, emotionally, is sort of that mean schoolgirl who’s not going to show her feelings to anybody. Karen thinks that Nebula has a little bit of a crush on Quill that she doesn’t quite know how to put together, and it makes sense because as we come to them in ‘Vol. 3,’ we realize that they are the two leaders of the Guardians. I think it’s very normal in any close friendship to have some sort of occasional romantic or crush-like feelings.”
The man’s certainly not wrong about that, and I’m almost tempted to re-watch all of the “Guardians” movies (or at least from “Vol. 2” onwards, when Nebula truly becomes part of the team) to see whether Gillan’s acting choice during scenes with Chris Pratt’s Peter actually sticks out in retrospect. In any case, even without Gunn totally “going there,” it’s a neat bit of subtext in a very emotional movie.
“Vol. 3” is currently playing in theaters.