Gillan's villain: Scots actress as Guardians' Nebula

Scots actress Karen Gillan is to appear in her biggest movie role yet in Marvel's sci-fi action adventure Guardians of the Galaxy.

Inverness-born Gillan's big break came when she was cast as Doctor Who companion Amy Pond.

While Pond was part of a force for good, Gillan's character in Guardians of the Galaxy has a villainous dark side.

Karen Gillan

With a reported production budget of £17m, Guardians of the Galaxy forms part of Marvel's so-called "Phase 2" project.

The first phase involved the development and release of superhero movies featuring well-known comic book characters such as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor.

Guardians' cast includes Chris Pratt, who provided the voice for Emmet Brickowoski in box office hit The Lego Movie, and Zoe Saldana, who starred in Avatar and the two recent Star Trek movies.

Directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy draws on characters and stories that first appeared in Marvel comics in 1969.

Gillan's character Nebula first appeared in the comics in 1985.

karen gillan

Last July, Gillan unveiled part of her look for the film at Comic-Con International in San Diego, one of the world's biggest celebrations of comic books and movies based on them.

During a press conference with other cast members, she removed a wig to reveal a shaven head.

At the UK premiere for Guardians of the Galaxy earlier this week, Gillan told the BBC how designers working on the new Star Wars film made the wig she wore at Comic-Con.

Karen Gillan as Nebula

Gillan's character, Nebula, has been described in the Marvel comics as a ruthless space pirate and former leader of a band of mercenaries.

Karen Gillan and cover of Empire magazine

There are glimpses of Gillan in trailers being seen in cinemas and online ahead of the movie's release.

The actress also features on the cover of a special edition of the August issue of UK film magazine, Empire.

On the cover with her are Djimon Hounsou, who plays Korath the Pursuer and previously starred with Russell Crowe in Gladiator, and Hobbit films actor Lee Pace who plays the film's chief bad guy Ronan the Accuser.

Ronan and Nebula

After Guardians of the Galaxy, Gillan is set to star in the Western, In a Valley of Violence.

The film's cast also includes Grease and Pulp Fiction actor John Travolta, Training Day's Ethan Hawke and American Horror Story's Taissa Farmiga.

Karen Gillan in Selfie and with co-star John Cho

Gillan, who as a youngster performed at Inverness' Eden Court Theatre, will also appear on US television this autumn.

She has been cast as the lead in new ABC series, Selfie.

The Scot plays Eliza Dooley who has 263,000 social media followers who hang on to her every post, tweet and selfie.

Eliza seeks help from a marketing guru played by John Cho, no stranger himself to strange, new alien worlds as Sulu in the Star Treks films, to "re-brand" her self-obsessed reputation.

Guardians of the Galaxy starts showing in UK cinemas later this month.

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