What If… Nebula Joined the Nova Corps? | Transcript

Nebula sets out to prove her detective chops when she's recruited to join the Nova Corps
What If... Nebula Joined the Nova Corps?

Episode Title: Nebula Joined the Nova Corps?
Series: What If…
Season: 2
Episode: 1
Original release date: December 22, 2023

Episode plot summary: Nova Prime enlists Nebula into the Nova Corps after Ronan the Accuser overtakes Thanos. Five years on, with Xandar cut off from the cosmos as a defense against Ronan’s forces, Nebula stumbles upon Yondu Udonta’s remains and is tasked by Nova Prime to delve into the matter. She discovers Yondu had the codes to deactivate the planetary shield and seeks the aid of Kree warrior Yon-Rogg to hack into the Nova Corps’ system and erase them. However, Yon-Rogg double-crosses her, admitting he and Nova Prime plan to surrender Xandar to Ronan.
Surviving an assassination attempt by Nova Prime’s forces, Nebula recruits the unconventional team of Howard the Duck, the towering tree-like Groot, and the rock creature Korg to thwart Nova Prime’s treachery. In the ensuing confrontation, Nebula confesses she had foreseen Nova Prime’s betrayal upon being assigned the mission and had cleverly modified the codes. Her alteration ensures that the shield snaps shut as Ronan’s Dark Aster ship penetrates Xandar, resulting in its destruction and Ronan’s demise. In a final bid for escape, Nova Prime meets her end. With the shield reactivated, Nebula stands ready to defend Xandar’s future.

* * *


NEBULA: Welcome to Xandar.

A place where everyone’s luck eventually runs out.

Even Yondu’s.

Someone did this to him.

But the question is, who?

GARTHAN: Corpsman Nebula, you can step away from the body.

The real cops are here.

Looks like a career criminal got what was coming to him.

Works for me.

All right, boys, I want this scene scrubbed and wrapped up in the hour.

Already cracked the case, huh?

I don’t need Black Order trash telling me how to do my job.

Former Black Order.

I earned my stars here, same as you.

Is there a problem, Corpsman?

This is Xandar.

All we got are problems.

I see.

Move it. I said within the hour.




It’s more than a linear path.

It’s a prism of endless possibility, where a single choice can branch out into infinite realities, creating alternate worlds from the ones you know.

I am the Watcher.

I am your guide through these vast new realities.

Follow me and ponder the question…

“What if?”

All quests for redemption begin in darkness.

And Nebula’s was no different.

In this universe, Ronan the Accuser betrayed Thanos.

The Mad Titan’s thirst for power had met its match.

And in his fall, he took Nebula’s sister along with him.

NEBULA: …sister along with him.

I was lost, adrift in the ruins of my past.

Until someone saw the light in me.

With compassion and kindness, Nova Prime gave me a way forward.

Take my hand.

NEBULA: I swore the Nova Corps oath.

ALL: Seek the light, be the light.

Never stray from its path.

NEBULA: Little did I know, our darkest days still lay ahead, when the man who destroyed my first home came gunning for my new one.

Go! Move it!

Run! Run!

Ronan and his forces attacked, bringing Xandar to the verge of destruction.

Out of options, Nova Prime made a desperate call.

Fire up the shield generator.

NEBULA: She locked down Xandar behind an impenetrable planetary shield designed to last for 50 years,

putting the planet out of his reach.


Xandar was saved for the time being.

But at what cost?

Five years in, isolation has brought out the worst in all of us.

Still, hope or no hope, I took an oath.

Garthan Saal and his lackeys wasted their time hunting for the killer’s weapon, when they really should have been looking for the victim’s.

Yondu and I had a past and some memories to go with it.

Memories I could use.


You and I, Nebby, we make quite the team. (WHISTLES)


You and I, Nebby, we make quite the team.




You and I, Nebby, we make quite the team. (WHISTLES)


You and I, Nebby, we make quite the team.


(LAUGHS) You and I, Nebby, we make…




Oh, Yondu. What did you get into?

So, no results?

ROBOTIC VOICE: Sorry, Officer.

There are no records of these schematics in any archive on Xandar.

Not even on the shadow network?

Negative. Thank you for your enquiry.

Pleasure’s all mine.

OFFICER: Riot in progress.

Send two more units to the Xandarian mall, stat.

DISPATCHER: No can do. Dealing with power failure on the south side.


Corpsman Nebula, I heard you were at Yondu’s crime scene.

I know you two had a past.

We did.

He had a checkered rep but he was never a bad egg.

And neither were you.

You took a chance on me. I’ll never forget it.

I trusted you then and I’m trusting you now.


Switch to a secure line.



Xandar’s on the brink.

Yondu got himself caught up with some dark forces on the rise, and if I’m right, Xandar only has until dawn.

I did find something at the crime scene.

I’m not sure what it is, but it seems Yondu gave his life to protect it.

Those instincts are why I gave you the stars, Nebula.

Follow them.

And use any means necessary.

Or I fear Xandar won’t see another sunrise.

Do you understand my orders, Corpsman?

I won’t let you down.

You have a warrant?





(GRUNTS) I am Groot.



Hey. Is the big man in?

High rollers’ table, sis.

But fair warning, he does not like to be bothered when he’s on a hot streak.

Hey, Howard.


How’s business?

The world’s falling apart and I’m running a casino.

Things are great.

And speaking of great… Waitress, could you bring us some small bites for the reflective woman over here?

Or do you just eat megabytes?



Aw, jeez. Are you ever off the clock? (SIGHS)

All right, folks. Big Daddy needs the room.

But, Howie, the hot streak.

Mindy, come on.

Okay, I’m sorry.

Yeah, you come back later.

So, if you have this arrow, I’m guessing Yondu’s finally turned a paler shade of blue.

He gave his life to protect this.


Now that is some serious glitz.

I ran these schematics through every archive on Xandar.


Nothing could ID them.


You have a hand in every pot, Howard.

Top shelf!

What do you know?

Talk about secrets from the… Nebby, this is some pretty great business.

What is it?

What is it?

That’s what I asked.

You’re the detective.

That’s why I’m asking you a question.

How should I know?

Look at this thing.

What kind of absolute freak would know what this is?

Oh, that’s an old city-wide mainframe core.

It’s a unit B-42, I believe.

I didn’t think there were many of those left.

How would you know that?

I know all sorts of things.

I’m more than just a pretty face.

I repeat, what the hell?

Data core. What’s in it?

Quite the hodgepodge, actually.

Sanitation department, metadata, unpaid parking tickets, rush hour statistics, source code for the shield generator, even an actual kitchen sink.

Go back one.

Unpaid parking tickets?


Rush hour statistics?

The other back one.

Source code for the shield generator?


Looks like someone might be trying to take down the planetary shield.

But why would anyone wanna do that?

Someone’s making way for an invasion.

I need to get into that mainframe and destroy those codes before they get out.

Whoa, Nebby, you sure about all this?

Places like that, not everyone who goes in comes out.

Which means that many of the people who enter these premises end up dead, forever.

Forever dead.

I’m on this case, no matter where it takes me.


If I wanted to get inside that mainframe, I’d need someone with a rep for breaching high-end security.

Someone who’d infiltrated Xandarian systems before.


ROBOT: Inmate request?


Do you understand that entering a correctional facility can be hazardous to your health?

I do.


Do you waive all rights and liability and understand that anything that happens here is your own responsibility?


I waive all the rights.

YON-ROGG: Corpsman Nebula.


Still rocking the same look, I see.


Oh, you know me. No muss, no fuss.

No muss, no fuss indeed. It’s been a while.

I’m tight on time and I need someone who knows their way around Xandarian security.

Aw, and you thought of me.

I arrested you for it, didn’t I?

But if you’d rather stay here, I’m open to other recommendations.



Lead the way.


AUTOMATED VOICE: Full facility alert.

Containment breach in cell block D.

Repeat, containment breach.


So, this was your plan?

Give me some credit.





Don’t bother. I already disabled the ejection seats.

(CHUCKLES) So, where are we heading?

Somewhere we’re not invited.

Wow. And I thought you took an oath.

And this is what it takes to keep it.

Is that right? Can’t say it looks like that from where I’m sitting.

Oh, I don’t need you to understand.

I just need you to live up to your reputation.

That’s our way in.

You do realize I don’t have any tools with me.

You know, I’m starting to think you and I would have been quite the team back in the day.

NEBULA: Hardly.

YON-ROGG: Whoo! 2,200 stories, huh?

That’s a long way down.

I didn’t break you out of jail to point out the obvious.

Yeah, I’m just saying, it doesn’t need to take all night.

(GRUNTS) Why did you stop?


YON-ROGG: Live wire.

Little early in the night to fry your circuits, don’t you think?

The data core’s in there.

Come on, baby. Talk to me.

Do you know how dumb that sounds?


There’s nothing to listen for. There are no gears in it.

No, I know. I was just shushing you.


AUTOMATED VOICE: Core overheating.

Oh, was that your clever plan?

Give me some credit.

Well, I hope you like working underwater.

A Xandarian mainframe core.


No access ports, no disk drives, no control panels.

You’ve done your part. Let me do mine.

And don’t touch anything.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Omega-class cybernetic organism detected.

You should follow your own advice.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Compatibility approved.


See? Told you.

NEBULA: Commence connection.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Connection sequence initialized.


Commence download.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Download complete.

Delete source files.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Source files deleted.

Logging-out sequence initiated.

YON-ROGG: Actually, I think I can put

that source code to better use.


I have to say, I didn’t think this would be so easy.

You’ve gone soft.


AUTOMATED VOICE: Log-out sequence stalled.

System compromised.

System overheating.

System critical.

Oh, by the way, you don’t have to worry about Xandar anymore.

Ronan has big plans for it.



You. It’s you.

NOVA PRIME: I knew that blast wouldn’t kill her.

She always has been a survivor.

Yes. We’ll fix that.

NEBULA: This was all a setup.

Giving me the Yondu case, pointing me to the shield codes.

All so you could start an invasion.

You swore an oath to defend Xandar.

And look where it got us.

The world’s falling apart.

People are at each other’s throats. We can’t go on like this.

And sometimes, there’s just no shame in surrender.

No shame? And what else?

Well, of course, Ronan promised to keep me in charge in exchange for my cooperation.

There was no way to access the data core without a cyborg.

Then I remembered I recruited one.

You’ve been using me this whole time.

You’re a machine. What did you expect?

Finish her, and make sure you melt down the pieces when you’re done.

Yes, ma’am.







All right, time to finish this.


NOVA CORPS MILITANT: Nothing can survive that.

What do you say, boss?

I’m calling it, boys.

Corpsman Nebula, end of watch.

RIOTERS: Down with Nova Corps.

Free Xandar.

Down with Nova Corps.

You’ve lost your way, Nova scum.

RIOTERS: There! Take that!

Hey! Watch it!

What’s the matter with you?

You got something to say?

Down with Nova Corps. Free Xandar.

Hey! Watch it!

Down with Nova Corps…

Rock, paper.

Groot, Groot.

(GASPS) But it’s uncuttable paper ’cause it’s made of rock.



Yeah, what’s all the ruckus?

Oh, Nebula. Nebby, are you okay?

Golly gosh, I barely recognized her.

I’d say I told you so, but your head’s bashed in, so you wouldn’t remember.

(ALL GROANING) I’m fine. I just need a drink.

And guns. And an arm.


What’s it take for a girl to get a little service around here?

Jeez. I can hear your processors clicking and whirring.

Yeah, the pile of rocks has a point, Nebby. You’re a wreck.

We can’t even pawn you for parts.

(GROANING) I said I’m fine.




Oh, no. This is bad.

Those aren’t supposed to pay out.


Ah, there she is. Welcome back to the land of the living.

There was a second there where I was thinking, “What am I gonna sing at her funeral?”

I’m fine.

Now, about those guns…

Guns? Nebula, even if I had, say, heavy weaponry, you know, military grade, sure to kill, which I’m not saying I do, breaking them out would be bad for business.

Nova Prime’s helping Ronan launch an invasion.

How’s that gonna help business?

Business takes care of itself.

The people of Xandar are going to suffer.

They’ll drink more.

Nova Prime will take your liquor license.


Rock, paper, scissors, strap up.

It’s happy hour.

I am Groot.



Right. So we all look cool.


Sorry. I just have to ask.

Are we allowed to do this?

Seems a bit morally gray with the guns and all.

We’ve swept the building. It’s just our team here now.

Then let’s get this going.

I promised Ronan we’d have the shield open by dawn.




It’s called style. Get some.

Get some? I’ve got a bandanna.




I am Groot!


Nova Prime. I’m here to end this.

You’re too late. The codes have been uploaded.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Shields opening.

NOVA PRIME: Ronan is entering the atmosphere as we speak.


You can’t stop this, but it’s not too late to join me.

No, I think it is.


AUTOMATED VOICE: Shields closing.


The shield, it’s taking the ships down with it.


The codes. You double-crossed me.

Triple-crossed, actually.

I saw Yon-Rogg’s move a mile away.

So I put my little twist on the codes.

You know, machine to machine.

How did you know?

Seek the light, be the light. Never stray from its path.

The moment you told me to solve this by any means necessary, I knew you’d broken our oath.

Still doesn’t make it hurt any less.

It’s over, Nova Prime. I’m taking you in.

All of you.

We’ll see about that.









Oh, sorry. Uh. just one moment of your time, please?

Aren’t you a big deal baddie?





He is.


Ow! I should have stretched before I did that.

Throttle engines. Emergency takeoff.




Take my hand.

Why couldn’t you just join me?

I took an oath.

You ruined everything.


THE WATCHER: Most quests for redemption begin in darkness.

But with a little grit, a little faith in yourself, if you keep the path, you can find your way to the light.

Well, well, well, if it isn’t the Super Nova.

You blew up our shield.

You blew up our space invaders.

Thanks to you, the planet’s actually getting its life back.

And your liquor license is safe.

(QUACKS) Not bad for a night’s work.

I’ll see you around, duck.



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