Marvel Studios Countdown: Who Is Karen Gillan Playing in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'?

Marvel Studios Countdown: Who Is Karen Gillan Playing in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'?

Jun 03, 2013

Casting continues to ramp up on James Gunn’s sci-fi adventure for Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy. Last week John C. Reilly and Glenn Close joined the cast, reportedly expanding the Guardians’ world even further by introducing Marvel’s space cops known as the Nova Corps. Then, Karen Gillan, who Doctor Who fans recognize as Amy Pond, was added to the cast as an as-of-yet unnamed villain. We know Michael Rooker is Yondu, who’s said to be the film’s primary villain, and Lee Pace is rumored to be playing either the Collector or Ronan the Accuser depending on who you believe. Today, Benecio Del Toro joined the film as a major character in Guardians, and one who'll appear in multiple films. While my immediate guess is Adam Warlock, the studio could be recasting Thanos with a more well-known star.  We’ve heard rumblings that Thanos will be a presence in some way, though Marvel is playing that one close to the vest.

So where does that leave Gillan? Is there room for four villains in Guardians? Excluding Thanos, since we don’t even know if he’ll be appearing on-screen, is there even room for three? We’re being introduced to an all-new team of heroes, as well as the Nova Corps, so the film already seems stuffed with cosmic characters.

I saw a couple possible guesses online as to who Karen Gillan was playing and came up with two myself that make the most sense to me. Let’s dig in...

Guess #1: Moondragon

In full disclosure, the powerful bald-headed psychic Moondragon is one of my least favorite Avengers of all time and I’m kind of hoping that this one isn’t true. Her origin involves Thanos (her parents were killed by Thanos, and she was raised on Titan by Thanos’s father Mentor), and she was a member of the Guardians in their 2008 comic book incarnation, on which this film is loosely based. I don’t dig her because she’s a haughty and unlikable presence, always condescending to teammates and allies. Though her motivations are too often purely selfish, she’s not exactly a villain, so I think this guess is COLD.

Guess #2: Death

This one is interesting (and the one echoed the most by fans when the casting was announced). Thanos is romantically obsessed with the female incarnation of Death, who exists in the Marvel U as a somewhat shapelier grim reaper. There are a lot of problems with bringing Death to the big screen, especially casting someone like Gillan as the character. There’s no dialogue and her face is a skull. You don’t cast someone as striking as Gillan just to cover her face, so you’re either forced to change the character drastically to make sense on the big screen or you leave death as a conceptual abstract we’re all familiar with instead of a personification. If Thanos is involved, then it’s likely Death will be involved in some way, so that’s the only reason I’m marking this one as WARM.

Guess #3: Nebula

One of my guesses is that Karen Gillan is playing the blue-skinned space pirate Nebula, who’s not only a villain but a pain in Thanos’ butt as well. Nebula stole Thanos’ ship, claimed to be his granddaughter, and eventually found herself as a central figure in the power struggle over Thanos’ prized Infinity Gauntlet, a bejeweled glove that can control the universe. Everything about this character makes sense for Gillan and the world that they’re trying to build - especially if that includes a path to an Infinity Gauntlet film adaptation in the form of Avengers 2. It’s casting against type from those used to seeing Gillan as Amy Pond, but it might be a chance to show her versatility and stand out in what’s shaping up to be Marvel’s biggest ensemble yet. I’d like to see that happen, so I’ll mark this one as WARMER.

Guess #4: Atrea

In Marvel’s Ultimate Universe line, Ronan the Accuser has a more altruistic sister named Atrea, both of whom are the children of Thanos. Atrea eventually turns against her brother and father, aligning herself with the side of good to see Thanos’s defeat. The cinematic Marvel world has cherry-picked elements from both the proper “616” Marvel Universe and the alternate Ultimate Universe (most famously the Sam Jackson-styled Nick Fury), so could Gillan be playing Atrea opposite Lee Pace’s Ronan? That’s a possibility as well, and the logic of it all is RED HOT.


I’m sure we’ll hear from the Guardians camp soon enough on just who Gillan is playing, but in the meantime -- do you have any guesses that seem more likely than these?

Categories: Countdown Column, Geek
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