In her short 14-year career, Scottish actress Karen Gillan has been a part of some pretty big productions. While Marvel has been her bread and butter, she also has Ruby Roundhouse in the Jumanji franchise as well as Amy Pond in the Doctor Who series to also thank for her rise up the Hollywood ladder. Big franchises aside, Gillan’s resume also includes some horror, some drama, and even the short-lived but funny sitcom Selfie where she played the lead, Eliza Dooley, in a re-imaging of the classic musical My Fair Lady.
So, with our trusty, handy dandy Giant Freakin Movie Score algorithm at the ready, Gillan’s work has been scrutinized and analyzed to come up with her Top 5 to date.
AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 8.9/10
Not a surprise here, though movies such as Avengers: Endgame are sometimes hard to include with it being such an ensemble. Karen Gillan returned to her role as Nebula, a character she first played in the 2014 movie Guardians of the Galaxy. Endgame gave Gillan’s Nebula a much bigger responsibility this time around as she first befriends and then cares for Iron Man before both were rescued by Captain Marvel.
During her attempt to reacquire the Power Stone, her past and present cybernetics link, allowing Thanos to prepare for the attack the Avengers are planning. Her past and present then physically appear together with the present offing the past. There are a lot of dots to connect in this one, but Gillan gets a good amount of screen time.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 8.55/10
Karen Gillan’s entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe came in the 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy. In her introduction, she was sent by her “father” Thanos as well as her sister Gamora to assist Ronan the Accuser in obtaining an orb that contained the Power Stone.
When Ronan decides to cross Thanos and take the Power Stone for his own, Nebula decides she will follow him. Gamora has other plans and the two battle. As Gamora gets the upper hand, Nebula escapes in a Ravager ship. Of course, all this sets up future stories within the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 8.45/10
There seems to be a theme working here for Karen Gillan’s top 5 movies. Avengers: Infinity War was the beginning of the “end” as it pertains to Marvel’s Phase 3. This movie set up the snap heard across the universe: a Thanos snap that wiped out half of all life.
The battle in this movie was to keep Thanos from obtaining all six Infinity Stones, a battle ultimately lost by the Avengers. Gillan’s part finds her siding with the Avengers as they enter their desperate battle against Thanos. As the movie concludes, Thanos’ snap takes out much of the Avengers, but Nebula ends up surviving on the planet Titan with a wounded Tony Stark.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 8.05/10
Volume 2 of the Guardians saga continues, finding Karen Gillan’s Nebula still at war with her sister Gamora (again played by Zoe Saldana). When Nebula is caught trying to steal valuable batteries, the Guardians are brought in to protect the batteries to get Nebula’s release. Rocket changes things up by stealing the batteries for himself, causing the Guardians to fight for their lives. Enter Ego (Kurt Russell), father to Peter Quill (Chris Pratt).
While most of the Guardians accompany Ego to his home, Rocket and Groot stay behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula. As the story moves forward and Nebula finds herself free, she again goes after Gamora, the two again battling. Eventually, though, the sisters form an uneasy alliance.
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (2017)
GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE: 7.25/10
Karen Gillan was welcomed to the Jumanji jungle as Ruby Roundhouse, the video game character who was most definitely a badass. In real-life (movie real-life, that is) Ruby was Martha Kaply, a high-school student who, along with fellow students Spencer, Fridge, and Bethany, are pulled into the Jumanji videogame while they are cleaning the school basement for detention.
When the students are transported to Jumanji and inhabit their videogame characters, they find they are pretty much the opposite of who they are in real life. Ruby Roundhouse is a hot commando, dressed the part, with an affinity for martial arts. She is able to use her skills time and again to help the four get out of the many tough situations they find themselves in. Gillan, as well as the other stars, would reprise their roles in the sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level.
KAREN GILLAN’S OTHER WORK
Karen Gillan’s career doesn’t revolve entirely around action films. She really got her notice on the Doctor Who series when she played Amy Pond for five seasons. She was also part of Pond Life, a Doctor Who spin-off that followed Amy Pond and her homelife. Gillan was also seen in the horror film Oculus that co-starred The Mandalorian and Battlestar Galactica actress Katee Sackhoff.
Karen Gillan got her first lead role in Selfie, an American sitcom that also starred John Cho. The series was critically acclaimed but many times what the critics say doesn’t compute with viewers. Unfortunately, viewers won this battle as their lack of interest cost Selfie its TV life. Gillan found a little bit of time on the feature The Big Short and was also in the feature In A Valley of Violence, which also starred Ethan Hawke and John Travolta.
For now, though, Karen Gillan seems to be hanging her hat on action films. Rumor has it that Gillan is set to reprise her role as Nebula in the soon to be shooting Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder. She definitely will be wearing Nebula’s face in the third volume of Guardians of the Galaxy, which is set to premiere sometime in 2023. Also on deck for Gillan is Dual, a sci-fi thriller that also will see Aaron Paul and Jesse Eisenberg take parts. This movie finds Gillan as a woman in the near future who finds out that she is terminally ill. Wanting to ease her family’s pain with her upcoming death, she has herself cloned, training the clone to feel like her. But the woman makes a miraculous recovery, which sets up a new problem for her. By future law, people cannot last any longer than their clones, so the two must fight to the death to see who remains.
As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and right now, it isn’t broke for Gillan.
The GIANT FREAKIN MOVIE SCORE is calculated using rating averages from Rotten Tomatoes and the Internet Movie Database.