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Karen Gillan Had to Do Couples Therapy in Nebula Makeup

I think she should have done the appointment in character

Nebula smirks at someone offscreen against a black background.

I loved Karen Gillan way back when when she played Amy Pond on Doctor Who, and I love her still as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy.

However, you could be forgiven for not recognizing the Doctor’s red-haired companion under all that Nebula makeup, which includes a full mask, bald cap (or shaved head), and large black contact lenses. According to Gillan, becoming Nebula requires four hours in the makeup chair every morning. Gillan told Raising Whasians that “essentially, I have the character’s skin glued to my face, which is really as close as I could possibly get to her. It’s pretty cool. And it’s kind of intense and slightly claustrophobic. It’s definitely become like part of my ritual, in terms of like getting into character. One time I did a rehearsal without the makeup and I did not feel like her at all. It’s become a vital part of the process for me.”

With a makeup routine like that, you’re not just going to wipe your face real quick if you’ve got a doctor’s appointment. Yesterday, in honor of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opening in theaters, Gillan posted a screenshot of the day she realized she’d scheduled a couples therapy appointment on a shooting day.

In the screenshot, Gillan shares the screen with her partner and their therapist. Sure enough, she’s got half of Nebula’s face on, with her own lips and eyebrows visible under thick layers of blue and purple makeup. Kudos to Gillan for prioritizing her relationship in the midst of what must have been a busy shooting schedule (and getting a great photo out of it in the process)!

As for Nebula, she’s come a long way since she was first introduced in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Nebula started as a villain, trying to get the Power Stone for her father Thanos and the Kree warlord Ronan. Over the years, though, as Nebula fought her sister Gamora and survived Thanos’s erasure of half the universe, she slowly found her humanity and became a hero, even giving her friend Rocket a stolen cybernetic arm as a heartfelt gift.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 opens in theaters this Friday, May 5. In the third and final installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy, Nebula and the other Guardians will delve deep into the traumatic past of Rocket Raccoon.

(featured image: Marvel)

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Julia Glassman (she/they) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at