Guardians of the Galaxy fans have adored Nebula from her very first debut, boasting some remarkable combat skills along with a tragic and twisted background. Although Nebula is most known for her iconic Cyborg appearance, many fans are curious to know what Nebula looked like before she was a robot.
Prior to becoming an android in Marvel comics, Nebula had blue skin, long black hair with curled tips and a pointed fringe, as well as blue human-like eyes. She retained her body shape, skin color, and height throughout her transformation, losing all of her hair while being fitted with metallic android parts.
While Nebula has always had certain genetic physical characteristics, the majority of her features are vastly different by the time she joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Stick around to find out everything there is to know about Nebula, including what she looked like before becoming a robot, her species and background, as well as how her appearance changed over time.
Nebula: species & background
Nebula made her debut within her natural state over 30 years ago in Avengers #257, where it was revealed that she believed Thanos was her biological grandfather. This storyline differs from the events described within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where it’s stated that Thanos adopted her as his stepdaughter after her home was destroyed – much like how Thanos adopted Gamora.
Prior to becoming the Nebula that we all know and love today, she was a fully organic alien belonging to a species known as the Luphomoids. It’s known that she was a space pirate, but her real name remains a mystery, and her background is still surrounded by debate since there is next to no trace of her home planet (Luphom) or her species after their destruction.
Nebula’s exact origins also differ slightly between the Marvel comics and MCU releases – in the comics, Nebula’s home is devoured by Galactus, while it is destroyed by Thanos in the MCU. However, it’s known that Nebula is one of four Luphomoids that managed to survive the brutal attack, all of which only lived due to being away from the planet at the time.
What did Nebula look like before she was a robot?
Luphomoids may be completely alien, but they have a natural appearance that’s relatively similar to human beings – with the primary exception being their purple or blue skin tones. They typically share the same height and stature as human beings, but they can reach heights of up to 12 feet or around 366cm in some cases.
They also share additional physical attributes compared to humans as well, such as their body composition, hair, and facial features. Prior to becoming an augmented android, Nebula had blue skin with odd purple-ish hues and mesmerizing blue eyes, as well as a full head of long and sleek black hair – topped off with a pointed fringe that complemented her sharp facial features.
In terms of her style, it’s believed that Nebula was as sassy and feisty as ever before her android transformation. She was a strategic and skilled fighter who was quick to unleash blasts against any opponent, although she was far more glamorous and usually styled her hair with large curled-up points along the sides of her head.
Before she began the lengthy process of becoming a cyborg, Nebula flaunted a purple full-body outfit with black armor and boots. Her facial features remain the same over time, apart from her now fully black eyes, which were once comparable to human eyes.
How Nebula’s appearance changed
In the Marvel comics, Nebula’s appearance and biological nature began changing after Thanos discovered her inside the big starship known as Sanctuary II, which she wanted to hijack and claim for herself. Refusing to believe that Nebula was his granddaughter, Thanos burned her alive until she was within an inch of her life, resulting in extremely severe physical wounds and brain damage.
Her mind and body were shattered by the event, and she was then ‘revived’ by means of numerous surgeries, augmentations, and bionic enhancements – alongside a flood of psychological trauma and cognitive augmentations as well. She was fitted with eye gadgets, arm attachments, metal-plated armor, and much more, all while being trained to be an assassin much like her adopted sister.
This aspect follows through in the MCU as well, as it’s explained that Nebula was augmented and altered piece by piece until she became a Luphomoid Cyborg – she was viewed as a ‘mindless’ weapon that could be used for Thanos’ evil motives. Although, fans did not get to see how this entire process unfolded in the MCU, as she was only introduced on-screen after being under Thanos’ grip for a very long time.
Another influence in Nebula’s transformation was the complex relationship between Nebula and Gamora, as Thanos would pitch the two against each other in a variety of ‘tests’ and challenges. Each time Nebula failed to beat Gamora (which occurred just about every time), she would be forced to undergo another painful and traumatic augmentation under the belief that her flesh embodied weakness.
This seems to be the primary reason for Nebula’s resentment and disdain toward Gamora, despite the fact that the two were victims of Thanos’ deeds – both losing their loved ones and homes, being brainwashed over the course of many years. Over time, all of these surgeries, tweaks, and adaptations resulted in the bald and metal-plated Nebula that most Marvel fans are familiar with.
Marvel fans have come up with some incredible concept art pieces with Nebula’s original form in mind, as seen below. This depiction is considered fairly accurate based on Nebula’s original description and form in Marvel comics, with the only notable exceptions being her pointed fringe and bodaciously curled hair flips.
Another amazing example of Nebula’s natural form was shared by MCU – The Direct on Twitter, portraying a more mature version of Nebula had she not been transformed. This version of Nebula gives fans insight into how she might have aged under different circumstances, possibly taking on a more combat-friendly hairstyle along with updated gear.
Nebula does regain her natural state in the Marvel comics to an extent, which shows Nebula briefly claiming the Infinity Gauntlet for herself which restores most of her mind and body in the process. However, it’s unknown if Nebula will ever regain her original form in future MCU releases – only time will tell, as fans can never be too sure of what the MCU creators have in store.
That’s everything there is to know about Nebula’s appearance prior to her being augmented by Thanos. Nebula is one of the most understated Marvel characters to date, dancing the line between villain and hero, but she is nevertheless a stunner before and after becoming a robotic android.
What do you think about Nebula’s true form? Let us know in the comments below!