Improvisation is a common feature on most movie sets. Actors taking creative liberties with their dialogue and behavior has led to some of the most iconic lines and moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It includes the likes of the “I am Iron Man” bombshell from Iron Man and allegedly 80% of Taika Waititi‘s Thor: Ragnarok. Karen Gillan is no stranger to improvisation on sets, such as Avengers: Endgame‘s opening paper football scene with Iron Man and Nebula, but it seems her improvisation skills may have actually left their imprint all the way back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Speaking to BBC’s Radio 1 this week, the Guardians of the Galaxy actress revealed that another iconic Nebula moment was the product of improvisation. When asked about her favorite lines from her career, she surprisingly said one of them was the “It’s not ripe” line from the Guardians sequel.
One that I noticed that people want me to always write on pictures is that improvised line actually from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is “It’s not ripe.” It was improv-ed at the time, and that has stuck beyond anything else.Karen Gillan
The Yaro root is a fruit Nebula spends most of the film chasing in vain. The Guardians repeatedly warn her that it’s not ripe and actively prevent her from taking a bite. Finally at the end of the film, Nebula sneaks her way into trying the fruit and inevitably spitting it out followed by the above-mentioned line.
How a Single Line Can Add More to the Story
Although it might seem like a small side joke, the Yaro root also doubles as a well-written piece of characterization for Nebula. Despite her being an antagonistic, bitter character, the Guardians are still looking out for her best interests, even with something as simple as eating fruit when it’s ready. When the head-strong Nebula rushes to get what she wants on her own terms, it ends up being premature and not what she wanted. The Yaro root is a reminder of how Nebula can benefit from learning to trust others instead of struggling to get by on her own and achieving less.
So even though it’s a small line from a silly gag, I think this line is actually rather important to her character arc. The meaning of the line makes it all the more impressive that it was an improvisation, especially when you consider that its director James Gunn has previously stated that about 99% of the final dialogue in his films are straight from the script. It’ll be interesting to see if her tendency for improvisation might come to the forefront with director Taika Watiti in Thor: Love and Thunder. As mentioned previously, he’s a fan of improvisation and perhaps he’ll get more of these character-developing scenes through improvisation.
If you are interested, you can check out the interview with Karen Gillan right here: