In the year between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, there was an endless stream of fan theories about what would happen in the movie. Many of them, specifically those that theorized the team would use time travel to undo the Snap, proved on the money. But one theory that seemed credible that never came to pass was that Karen Gillan’s Nebula would wield the Infinity Gauntlet.
All the pieces seemed to fit. After all, Marvel Studios was clearly putting a lot of development into Nebula’s character and she has a personal connection to Thanos. Most notably, in The Infinity Gauntlet comic book storyline, which Infinity War and Endgame very loosely adapted, she steals and uses it. This ends up with Thanos having to team up with our heroes to take down the now cosmically-powered Nebula.
We knew that the Russo Brothers had considered having this in the film as there’s concept art showing Nebula with the gauntlet, but now we know why they shelved the idea. During the quarantine watch party for Endgame, a fan asked what they’d planned to do and writer Christopher Markus replied with the following:
“It was in the script for a while, but it undercut the weight of Tony putting it on.”
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While Nebula fans might wish they’d gotten to see her big moment, it’s likely that this would have concluded with her death as she struggled to control the power of the Infinity Stones. Given that we know that Gillan is returning for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, I’d rather see her story developed further there than for Nebula to go out as a villain. Plus, this way we get to keep the focus on Thanos as the antagonist.
And, as Markus says, if too many characters are using the Infinity Gauntlet, then it undercuts its dangerous power.