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– by David Kozlowski

Thanos’ pursuit of the Infinity Stones is obviously THE focus of Avengers: Infinity War, but now we’re learning more about at least one of the film’s subplots, which involves a key Guardians of the Galaxy character. This latest news further fuels fan and media speculation that the film’s narrative has aspects anthology, focusing on a collection of individual stories that informs the whole. Exploring the backstories of both major and minor characters, via flashbacks and other techniques, is an interesting and unexpected approach for a team-based, blockbuster movie.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspects of Avengers: Infinity War are the expected interactions between Avengers and Guardians heroes. You know you’ve been dreaming about Spider-Man/Starlord, Gamora/Black Widow, and Hulk/Drax team-ups, right? So it’s a bit surprising that one of the major subplots in Avengers: Infinity War involves Thanos’ least favorite daughter, Nebula (Karen Gillan), and her brutal past under her father’s blistering reign.

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ComicBookMovie caught up with Gillan during a Florida SuperCon panel, where she provided some details:

“Without giving away any spoilers, we’re definitely going to continue the arc for Nebula and find out more about her past. And actually, we’re going to find out that it’s even worse than we know. We’re going to see her confront all of it. It’s going to be an emotional explosion.”

I’m not sure what an “emotional explosion” looks like on-screen, but given Nebula’s terse descriptions of growing-up in the Mad Titan’s household, and the horrible experiments and punishments that he doled out to her, it sounds like we should expect something shocking. The bigger question is: how far Marvel will go in depicting these horrors?

We’ve become accustomed to graphic violence and bloodshed within the MCU’s gritty, street-level TV series on Netflix, but the family-friendly movie iterations have been much more restrained regarding their depictions of death, injury, and mayhem. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Nebula herself explained some of the terrible things Thanos did to her as a child, so any visualization of these events could be tonally jarring, at least for some fans.

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have recently stated that the stakes in Avengers: Infinity War are high, we should expect losses, and rosters could be forever altered. To achieve these major goals requires establishing Thanos are a truly monstrous being… so, learning more about how he butchered his own daughter and re-made her into a murderous cyborg would probably get the ball rolling.

An interesting takeaway here, apart from the promise of deeper exploration of Nebula’s past, is that Avengers: Infinity War is shaping-up to be a very non-traditional superhero film… perhaps one that even breaks with formula. The strength of the MCU is the range and variation of its characters, so expanding upon the lesser heroes and villains is exciting. With Phase 4 rumored to emphasize more of the “Cosmic” aspects of the Marvel universe, we may well find characters like Nebula at the center of the journey. Stay tuned, we’ll be back with more Avengers: Infinity War news!

Are your surprised by a Nebula subplot in Avengers: Infinity War? Let us know in the comments down below!

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018.

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SOURCE: ComicBookMovie

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University’s Film and Media Studies.