Something doesn’t make sense. Since Thanos kept referring to "the orb" while talking to Ronan, it is implied he did not tell Ronan it contains an Infinity Stone. This makes sense, since he didn’t want Ronan to keep it.

Yet, at the Kyln, Ronan says he doesn’t want the Nova Corps to know what they were after and to kill everyone, which implies he knows the orb contains the Stone, or is at least worth hiding.

On Knowhere, Nebula said,

"The Stone is in the furthest pod."

This means Ronan already knew the orb contained an Infinity Stone, or Nebula just leaked the information to him. Gamora told Nebula that if Ronan gets the Stone, he will kill everyone, reinforcing the notion that Ronan would keep the Stone for himself and not give it over to Thanos. Nebula's response was an affirmation that Ronan would keep the stone.

So why did Nebula give it to Ronan? Why not take it to Thanos?

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    Because like Gamora, Nebula HATES Thanos (he explicitly calls Gamora "my favourite daughter" in front of Nebula, which earns him a sarcastic "Thanks, Dad"), so again like Gamora, the moment she sees a way that someone might actually have a chance to go up against Thanos, she sides with him. Ronan himself might have suspected from the beginning - after all, why else would Thanos bother to work with him - but the destruction at the Collector's place might just have confirmed it. At the Kyln he just have been strategic, the less information the enemy has the better, even as to what you seek.
    – BMWurm
    Dec 25, 2014 at 11:52
  • @BMWurm Plausible... Perhaps there is no explanation, perhaps its just bad editing. Another example of an editing mistake occurs when Star Lord 'asks' Drax "You called Ronan?" before Ronan asks Drax if he was the one who sent the transmission.
    – user23298
    Dec 25, 2014 at 16:34
  • If I remember correctly, Nebula explicitly tells Gamora she helped Ronan get the stone because she wants revenge on Thanos for turning her into a cybernetic weapon. It would follow that she was open with him about what the orb contained.
    – user33616
    Dec 25, 2014 at 20:44
  • @user23298 well star lord isn't an idiot. He knows Drax is obsessed with revenge, and he's probably drunk dialed a bunch of people. I don't see that as an error.
    – user16696
    Jun 1, 2015 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


I think that both Gamora and Nebula know the Orb’s true contents, but they don’t tell Ronan at first.

There’s a deleted scene between the two sisters, in which Nebula confronts Gamora for stealing her glory when going for the Orb. The scene is available on YouTube. Nebula says:

You would tell [Thanos] that only Gamora furthers his great plan? (emphasis mine)

Getting an orb left on an abandoned planet doesn’t seem like much of an achievement, so I think they both know some of Thanos’s greater plans. They may not know exactly what it is, but certainly have enough clues to work it out.

That explains Nebula’s comment on Knowhere, but I don’t think Ronan necessarily knows what it is yet. Nebula presumably explains it after Thanos’s comment about “his favourite daughter”, but she might have waited until after she had the orb in hand.

As for Ronan purging the Kyln, I don’t think this tells us much. At this point, the Nova Corps don’t seem to be aware that he’s looking for anything, let alone what that might be. They just think he’s attacking Nova outposts. If they don’t know what he’s doing, then he’s harder to stop, so it makes sense not to let them know about the Orb or his search, whether or not he (or they) know what it actually contains).

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    The problem is, I think that deleted scene contradicts Gamora's reaction to the stone once she knows what it is. If she knew what the Orb contained, why did she ever want to hand it over to the collector?
    – KutuluMike
    Aug 18, 2015 at 16:23

The problem is that not even Gamora knew exactly what was in the orb. Her being the favorite daughter of Thanos, remember. It stands to reason that Nebula had no clue what was in the orb. I feel it could be 1) just an oversight due to a missing scene, or 2) they saw the explosion of the collection and know the only thing that could cause it.

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    I tend to agree with this. Ronan is impetuous, but not stupid. He could easily figure out what the orb was after seeing it in action. Jan 20, 2015 at 13:28

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