Nebula is a fairly old character from comics, but she rose to prominence only after her appearance in the MCU, first as a member of Thanos’ Black Order and then later, after her redemption, she became a full-fledged member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, before departing the team in the finale movie. From what we know about Nebula’s past, we know it’s shrouded in mystery, and many atrocities were committed against her, all because Thanos was her father figure. That led us to explore whether Nebula was Thanos’ biological daughter, both in the MCU and in the comics.
Nebula was Thanos’ adopted daughter alongside Gamora in the MCU. Thanos adopted most of his children after he was done genociding their entire populations. In the comics, the situation is a bit more complicated. Nebula claimed that Thanos’ was her biological grandfather and that she was the biological daughter of Luphomoid pilot Xorr. Later, it was revealed that Nebula was only adopted by Thanos alongside Gamora, her real origins being mystery.
One common element in recent years, when it comes to Nebula’s story, seems to be the fact that she had an extremely harsh childhood due to being raised by Thanos. But how did she end up in his care in the first place? If you’re interested to find out, stay with us!
How did Nebula end up with Thanos in the MCU?
As soon as we met Nebula on screen, we were more or less aware that she wasn’t Thanos’ biological daughter, as the two appeared to be two different races entirely.
On Thanos’ quest to eradicate half of all life in the Universe, he came across numerous planets and numerous species. He wasn’t interested in knowledge; however, if Thanos visited your planet, it meant that he would genocide half of your population in order to “free” you from the burden of dying due to lack of resources.
One such planet that Thanos’ killed half of its population was Nebula’s home planet. She comes from the alien race of Luphomoids, and at one point, after conquering her planet, Thanos adopted her alongside Gamora and other children who were left orphaned.
So Nebula ended up in Thanos’ care much in the same way as the rest of his children. As soon as he killed half of her race, he adopted her and trained her to be an elite assassin. But while he was emotionally attached to Gamora, Thanos never really felt anything toward Nebula. He treated her as a tool and perceived her to be much weaker than Gamora.
The two often trained together, and every time Nebula lost the fight, she would be tortured and cybernetically enhanced because Thanos hated weakness and claimed that Nebula had to be improved physically.
Still, despite Nebula’s complexes, she developed genuine feelings toward Gamora, and the two bonded as sisters. Even though Nebula spent the better portion of her life trying to impress her adoptive father and failing, she eventually turned against him and joined her sister’s side.
Even after the older Gamora was replaced by the Time-Heist version of Gamora, the two adopted sisters maintained contact, probably due to the “new” Gamora being more similar to Nebula in nature than the old Gamora.
Nebula’s origin in the comics is a mystery
Just like in the MCU, when Nebula was introduced in the comics, she was a hassle and often went up against the Avengers, the Skrulls, Xandarians, and numerous other superheroes. In fact, she was a space pirate and posed quite a threat even to Thanos himself.
Despite that, her character wasn’t all that popular, and her story was never as developed as some other characters. It’s clear that not much attention was given when her origin story was crafted.
In ‘Avengers’ #260, Nebula stole Thanos’ ship, and this is the first mention that she might be the Mad Titan’s granddaughter. However, this story was never exactly proved due to the lack of evidence concerning her father.
The story gets weirder when, in ‘Nova’ Vol. 3 #1, Nebula claims that she is the daughter of Zorr or Xorr, a Luphomoid pilot. We don’t know what the connection between Zorr and Thanos is and who might Zorr’s mother be. It was never confirmed whether Zorr was really Thanos’ son or rather his son-in-law, but this still leaves us with the question of who was Nebula’s mother?
In any case, in ‘Gamora’ #1, Nebula’s story starts making much more sense and starts to resemble the story we’ve seen in the MCU.
Thanos adopted Nebula at one point in time, just like he did with Gamora, but the differences between the two sisters were obvious. Despite Nebula’s advanced training, she was never better than her adoptive sister, and the two often fought, with Nebula going as far as to try to murder Gamora due to her jealousy.
Nebula once asked Thanos why he didn’t know her birthday, and he answered in an extremely hurtful way, claiming that Nebula was not born. She was upcycled, referring to the fact that he turned her into a cyborg to “improve” her.
Thanos also refused to call Nebula his daughter, claiming that he already had one and it was enough for him. Noticing that Nebula was often violent toward Gamora, he went as far as to claim if Nebula ever succeeded in her attempts to harm Gamora, he would be the one to kill her personally.
Nevertheless, Nebula tried many times. And this is pretty much it. As you can see, it’s straightforward that Thanos and Nebula are not biologically related at all, at least according to the newer origin stories.
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