Nebula is one of the fan-favorite MCU characters, who first appeared as the step-daughter of Thanos, but later became a vital member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Throughout the movies, we learn Nebula wasn’t always an android and that Thanos augmented her body, piece by piece, making her what she is now. But what did Nebula look like before she was a robot?
Well, we never get a clear picture of it in the MCU, as we meet Nebula in an already android-like state. However, the answers are right there in Marvel Comics, as well as some awesome fan art and concept designs to help us get a better picture of what Nebula looked like before she was a robot. Let’s dive in!
What Race Was Nebula Before She Became A Robot?
Nebula’s origins slightly differ in the comics and the MCU, but her ground basis is basically the same. Before becoming a robot, Nebula was a fully organic alien from a species called the Luphomoids.
Even in the comics, we don’t see many of them ever appearing, mostly because their entire planet and civilization were wiped out. There are only four Luphomoids that ever appeared in Marvel Comics, and all were said to have survived only because they were out of their planet, Luphom, during its destruction.
The Luphomoids are described as humanoid aliens with blue and purple skin, and though they are usually similar to humans in size, they can reach up to a whopping 12 feet (366 cm) in height. They have the body, hair, and facial features very similar to humans, minus the skin color.
Hence, Nebula basically looked like a beautiful woman with long dark hair but blue skin before she ever got any bionic enhancements and became an android. However, right off the bat, her origin story changes when comparing the comics and the MCU.
In the comics, planet Luphom was devoured instantly by none other than our guy Galactus, the Devourer of Planets, and only the Luphomoids who were off-planet at the moment survived. Nebula was one of them. We first see her in Avengers #257, with long hair and blue skin and claiming that Thanos was her grandfather. We’ll get to that in a bit.
However, in the MCU, Thanos invaded Luphom and slaughtered half of the planet (as he did with countless other worlds), and then adopted Nebula as his stepdaughter. At the time, she had no enhancements. That would quickly change – but not just due to Thanos.
Sure, he was the one doing the augmentation, but it was Nebula’s stepsister, Gamora, who started it all by defeating and crippling Nebula over and over again, knowing what Thanos would do and not really caring.
What Did Nebula Look Like Before She Was A Robot In The Comics?
Now, we already saw what Nebula looked like in her comics debut. However, it didn’t really last long. You see, when she first appeared, Thanos was currently out of the picture. Not dead, but petrified in stone.
As it turns out, Nebula believed Thanos was her grandfather, so she wanted to claim the big starship known as Sanctuary H for herself. However, Thanos’ brother, Starfox, also wanted to claim the Sanctuary for himself, but Nebula eventually ended up piloting and claiming the starship.
Not long after, Thanos “came back to life,” being de-petrified, so he returned to Sanctuary H. There, he found Nebula, who was a complete stranger to him. Despite her claims of being his granddaughter, The Mad Titan didn’t believe Nebula, and he simply burned her alive – getting her to the brink of death, but not over the edge. He even boasted about it to Death herself.
Nebula’s body and mind were completely destroyed, which eventually prompted all the surgeries, bionic enhancements, and Nebula becoming an android robot. Her appearance changed gradually, though. As in the MCU, Nebula was changed piece by piece, part by part.
Eventually, it came to a point where the former Luphomoid became a complete android with both physical and mental augmentations. She started to look more like the Nebula we know from the MCU – bald, with robotic limbs and some kind of eye gadgets.
However, Thanos got his money’s worth for what he did to Nebula in the comics. There’s a storyline where a post-burning Nebula gets a hold of the Infinity Gauntlet. She restores her Luphomoid appearance in all its glory and uses the Gauntlet to exact revenge on The Mad Titan.
Now, the character history is obviously different in the MCU, so let’s see what we can find about the pre-robotic Nebula in the MCU.
What Did Nebula Look Like Before She Was A Robot In The MCU?
We never actually saw the MCU Nebula before she was an android. We meet her when she was already under Thanos’ grasp for a long time, augmented almost completely. As we know, her stepsister, Gamora, beat her in contests and tasks their father threw at them all the time.
So, every time Nebula lost to Gamora, Thanos changed a part of her body with bionic enhancements. It caused horrific pain, which was why Nebula developed such disdain for Gamora. But, before it all happened – before we joined in the story – what did MCU’s Nebula look like?
Well, she was a Luphomoid, just like in the comics, so we can safely assume she had beautiful long hair and looked a lot like a human being. You can imagine the actress portraying Nebula, Karen Gillan, with blue skin and voila – pre-robotic Nebula!
Luckily for us with poor imagination, the internet is a magical place, and there are tons of high-quality concept art made by fans who gave their best takes on what Nebula looked like before she was a robot.
This take from Reddit shows Nebula in a completely humanoid body, including her arms and face. Her skin is blue, but other than that; there’s nothing else that would suggest Nebula was an alien. She really looks beautiful.
Another awesome Reddit interpretation of Nebula focused on her facial features and gave her dark, black hair. She looked even more awesome, with beautiful, dark eyes and a sweet face that simply radiates kindness. I know, I know, Nebula was not the kindest thing in the MCU, but knowing what she went through, is it any wonder she’s a bit rough around the edges?
Finally, I also found this awesome concept art on Twitter from MCU – The Direct, which showcased a concept art of Nebula for Avengers: Endgame. They gave Nebula a more mature appearance. It kind of reminds me of the X-Men’s Mystique due to the long, slicked-back hair and beautiful but small pupils.
Nebula is an amazing character that captured the hearts of the audience, and I surely hope that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 won’t be the last we see of her, as Karen Gillan shared on her Instagram recently.