Thanos may be the biggest bad in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while he may have gotten away with dusting half of those living by snapping his Infinity Gauntlet, it's only a matter of time before he gets his comeuppance! From Captain America to Captain Marvel, there are a variety of potential candidates to deliver the mad Titan's coup de grâce. Nevertheless, two especially likely challengers stand out among the superpowered assemblage: Nebula and Gamora, the daughters of Thanos! Each of these warriors has the skill and motivation to ultimately overpower the Mad Titan and take the first steps toward restoring cosmic balance in the wake of the atrocities the MCU's greatest villain has wrought from one corner of the galaxy to the other.
Trained by Thanos personally, Nebula and Gamora were each orphaned as a result of the destruction the Mad Titan unleashed upon their respective civilizations. But Thanos personally selected both orphans to be subjected to his cruel tutelage and be transformed into his hand-groomed assassins. In addition to learning the tactics of battle espoused by Thanos, Nebula and Gamora were regularly pitted against one another in all-out destructive matches aimed to harden and refine their respective fighting styles. Despite the attempts made by Thanos to turn the two women against each other, they eventually came to regard one another as sisters and grew to share a common goal of avenging themselves against their adopted father. Although the sisters do have difficulties with one another, which can sometimes cause intense friction within their relationship, here are 10 reasons each of them has a fighting chance of becoming the warrior who finally succeeds in vanquishing the monstrous Thanos!
20 GAMORA: STOOD UP TO THANOS
Standing up to the Mad Titan is no small feat! Even the Hulk, widely recognized as Strongest Avenger, was reduced to cowering within puny Banner after coming face to face with Thanos in the opening scenes of Avengers: Infinity War.
In spite of her long and sordid personal history with Thanos, Gamora was willing to stand up to Thanos in an attempt to subvert his efforts to acquire the final Infinity Stone. Although Gamora failed to stop Thanos as he assembled the Infinity Stones, her courage in openly standing up against it is an impressive feat of strength in and of itself!
19 NEBULA: SURVIVED DISASSEMBLY
When Nebula was defeated in battle by her sister, Gamora, Thanos would punish her by replacing one of her organs or appendages with a mechanical replacement. While the horrors of this process are unspeakable, the results include some fantastic abilities, including what essentially amounts to a healing factor.
On several occasions throughout her appearances on the big screen, viewers have witnessed Nebula's body quickly (if grotesquely) realign after the warrior has suffered grievous bodily injury. Never was this demonstrated more completely than in Infinity War, in which Nebula is subjected nearly-complete disassembly but manages to survive the ordeal without any lasting physical damage.
18 GAMORA: CO-WIELDER OF AN INFINITY STONE
Ronan the Accusor, the antagonist of Guardians of the Galaxy, was a Kree zealot who personally objected to the peace treaty signed between Xandar and the Kree. Ronan forged an alliance with Thanos, agreeing to locate one of the Infinity Stones for the Mad Titan in exchange for the destruction of Xandar. But when Ronan recognizes the power contained in the Stone, he decides to destroy Xandar himself!
The ensuing battle builds to a face-off between Ronan, who holds an Infinity Stone, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, including Gamora. Quill seizes the Stone and is nearly destroyed, but when Rocket, Drax, and Gamora add their efforts, the team successfully wields the Stone's power and vanquishes Ronan.
17 NEBULA: UPGRADABLE
When the team rescues Nebula from imprisonment by the Authority in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, her left hand has been replaced with a crude, three-digit grabber. After she has aligned herself with the Ravagers, this rough grabber is upgraded to a five-fingered hand, constituting a significant improvement over her previous appendage.
Kraglin tells her that there are plenty of additional hands available in the Ravager storerooms, and while Nebula declines the offer, the offer highlights the easily replaceable nature of Nebula’s cybernetic body parts. This creates a galaxy of potential upgrades for the warrior, as any number of especially dangerous devices might be included in potential body part replacements.
16 GAMORA: HID THE SOUL STONE
As Thanos cut a swath of destruction across the galaxy, few had the gumption to stand up against the Mad Titan's terrible conquest, and fewer still managed to place significant obstacles between the terrible villain and his objective. One of the scant successful efforts to forestall Thanos' success was thanks to the efforts of Gamora.
By hiding the Soul Stone, Gamora was able to prevent Thanos from collecting every Infinity Stone. Without the assembled power of all six, he couldn't execute his balancing act. Unfortunately, Gamora was forced to divulge the location of the hidden Stone in order to stop the torture of her sister in Infinity War.
15 NEBULA: MERCENARY
Nebula's demeanor is dour, and the perpetual glower she maintains ensures that only the very foolhardy would dare approach her. Despite this evident distant for those around her, Nebula is perfectly capable of working alongside another character, should their goals align with her own.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Nebula forges a shaky alliance with the Ravagers, helping them mutiny against Yondu and earning a replacement hand and a spaceship in return. Later, she forms an alliance with the Guardians against Ego. Nebula may be prone to abandoning partnerships that no longer profit her as she did with Ronan in the original Guardians of the Galaxy, but that only becomes a problem if her ally strays from the goal of defeating Thanos!
14 GAMORA: RESOURCEFUL FIGHTER
Under the tutelage of Thanos, Gamora learned how to make any object at hand a deadly weapon, regardless of the circumstances. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the battle between Gamora and Nebula on Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2!
Nebula tracked Gamora to Ego and used her Ravager ship to launch a surprise all-out aerial assault on her sister. When the result is a spectacular crash, Gamora doesn't hesitate to immediately seize upon the wreckage of the vessel in order to hastily re-wire an enormous automatic cannon and turn the weapon on Nebula! Gamora's resourcefulness in battle is unparalleled.
13 NEBULA: TRICKY
When Gamora accompanies Thanos to Titan after he has captured her on Knowhere in Infinity War, he reveals that he has inprisoned her sister and then subjected her to excruciating physical punishment. Reduced to a nearly disassembled state, Nebula is clearly enduring intense pain.
But as one of Mad Titan's lackeys is reassembling her after Gamora has ceded the location of the Infinity Stone to Thanos, Nebula fakes an injury to distract the guard and escape. According to Thanos, he only captured her to begin with after she had nearly succeeded in her mission to defeat him. Time and again, Nebula has used clever trickery to gain the upper hand.
12 GAMORA: BACKUP
By her own admission, Gamora spent much of her past surrounded by enemies. After escaping the controlling clutches of the Mad Titan, she traveled the galaxy alone as she sought her vengeance. When she met Quill and the rest of the team after being arrested on Xandar in Guardians of the Galaxy, they crew soon found themselves forming an unlikely (but enduring) family.
In Infinity Wars, it becomes clear how far her fellow Guardians are willing to go to defend her, as Quill leads a mission to the planet Titan to rescue her. Although the team is too late to rescue her, it's clear that those close to Gamora will stop at nothing to back her up.
11 NEBULA: MERCILESSLY TRAINED BY THANOS
Like Gamora, Nebula was taken from her home and family at a young age and pressed into the service of Thanos. As a child of Thanos, she was forced to undergo extremely inhumane training and punishment as the Mad Titan sought to hone her skills as his personal operative.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Nebula recounts the horrific circumstances of her childhood. After forcing her to battle against her sister Gamora, Nebula would face punishment in the form of her appendages and organs being removed and replaced by mechanical substitutions. With less organic tissue left than synthetic replacement, Nebula has faced nightmares beyond reckoning and continues to pursue vengeance with single-minded vigor!
10 GAMORA: MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN IN THE GALAXY
While Nebula may have been repeatedly subjected to extreme and outrageous punishment due to her failure to defeat her sister in battle, Gamora was the warrior who emerged from those incredibly high-stake showdowns victorious.
As evidenced by the long rap sheet that accompanies her intake at the Kyln in Guardians of the Galaxy, the training that Thanos forced Gamora to take part in did indeed make her one of the most fierce warriors in the galaxy. Unfortunately for Thanos, the finely honed abilities of the most dangerous woman in the galaxy are now being used in Gamora's vendetta against her villainous father.
9 NEBULA: DRIVEN
Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges that often seem to fall in her path, Nebula is particularly driven to achieve her goals, particularly those that fall within the purview of her vengeance. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the apparently unstoppable warrior escaped imprisonment and made an agreement with the amoral Ravangers that earned her possession of a spaceship, allowing her to track down her estranged sister.
While finding oneself imprisoned on a remote world might prove to be impossible circumstances for many to overcome, it takes only a few days before Nebula has tracked her sister to Ego and launched her attack. When motivated by vengeance, little could possibly stop Nebula's drive to reach her goal.
8 GAMORA: RETURNED FROM THE SOUL GEM
In the Marvel comic canon, the Soul Gem is the equivalent of the MCU's Soul Stone. While the Gamora of Universe 616 was once trapped within the Soul Gem, she managed to escape her crystalline prison and rejoin her fellow Guardians.
While there are many differences between the stories and characters in the MCU and the original comics, there are a number of parallels, as well. Although the events of Infinity War leave Gamora apparently lifeless, it seems plausible that like her comic book counterpart, she will successfully return to the land of the living, giving her a chance to successfully overpower Thanos once and for all!
7 NEBULA: OPPORTUNITY
While Gamora did not manage to survive the events of Infinity War, Nebula not only avoided her demise at the hands of Thanos, she also avoided being dusted by the snap of a gauntlet.
While Nebula may be stranded on the remote world of Titan at the conclusion of Infinity War, she's accompanied by Tony Stark, the genius terran inventor. With the remains of the Guardian's most recent ship, the Benetar, at their disposal, she's at a considerable advantage when compared to situations she's successfully maneuvered through in previous movies. It is unlikely Nebula is ready or willing to abandon her pursuit of Thanos, and with the Benetar and Tony with her on Titan, she has the opportunity to continue her relentless hunt.
6 GAMORA: ROCKET'S ARMORY
While having the support of the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy for backup is invaluable, there is another practical benefit to having the team on her side. Although Gamora has repeatedly demonstrated how dangerous she is even when unarmed or forced to rely on makeshift weaponry, she is even more threatening when armed with the outlandish and effective weapons designed by Rocket.
The surly cybernetic creature has a knack for building dangerous weapons using whatever happens to be around, which means whatever novel method of reigning destruction Rocket has constructed this week becomes a part of the larger armory which Gamora can access.
5 NEBULA: NOTHING TO LOSE
Thanos has reigned destruction around Nebular throughout her life, first orphaning her and then training her to be a weapon using the most horrific possible methods. While Nebula is able to survive the torments of the Mad Titan, by the conclusion of Infinity War, she has little left to lose.
Nebula and Gamora were able to form a deep familial connection despite the battles against one another in which their father forced them to take part. But the loss of her sister at the hand of Thanos leaves Nebula with nothing to lose, which means there are extremely few weak points left for Thanos to exploit as he attempts to thwart his daughter's quest for revenge.
4 GAMORA: BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THANOS
During the events of Infinity War, Gamora is literally sacrificed by her father as he works to gain control of every single Infinity Stone. Although he does accomplish this goal, doing so means that he has essentially given up control of Gamora.
In sacrificing his daughter in order to obtain the Soul Stone, he played his final hand and released his last scraps of control over Gamora, who is now beyond the control of any of the Mad Titan's methods. Furthermore, given that the Soul Stone was involved in the warrior's sacrifice, the nature of her demise may be relative, and that may ultimately afford Gamora a distinct advantage over Thanos.
3 NEBULA: RELENTLESS
At the climax of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, Nebula faces off against her estranged sister during an aerial battle above the planet of Xandar. At the conclusion of the fight, Nebula is left in a precarious position, dangling out of the side of the ship.
Rather than accept the assistance proffered by Gamora, Nebula chooses to amputate her hand and fall into the abyss. She manages to land on a Ravanger craft, and after unceremoniously throwing the previous pilot out, escapes using the ship. The incredibly relentless nature of Nebula's behavior could provide her with the method for overpowering Thanos.
2 GAMORA: THANOS LOVES HER
In order to achieve his objective of assembling all six of the Infinity Stones in Infinity War, Thanos had to sacrifice the only thing he loved. While Gamora thought that this would prove to be an insurmountable task for Thanos, who she did not believe loved anyone, the Mad Titan proved her wrong when he revealed that he truly did love her.
While the legitimate love Thanos had for his daughter did not prevent him from sacrificing her, it still might provide Gamora with an edge over her father should she have the chance to face him in battle once again.
1 NEBULA: PERSONAL VENDETTA
The vendetta that Nebula has against Thanos is deeply personal. As she explained to Kraglin in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, her ultimate personal goal is to hunt down her father and deliver ultimate justice for the wrongs he has committed against her.
While Gamora's reasons for overpowering her father and defeating him in battle and deeply personal as well, she has also cultivated relationships that complicate her perspective and priorities. Nebula, on the other mechanical hand, no longer seems to have any goals aside from avenging herself upon Thanos. With a deeply personal vendetta, the drive to achieve vengeance, and nothing left to lose, Nebula just might prove to be the individual who finally manages to bring overpower Thanos once and for all!