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GOTG 3 Theory: Nebula's New Arm Points To A Tony Stark & Rocket Team-Up

It's safe to say that each member of the Guardians of the Galaxy has changed dramatically since their debut in 2014, both internally and externally. Most notable are the changes to Groot (Vin Diesel), whose rebirth in the first movie has turned him into a much bulkier version of himself that James Gunn calls "Swole Groot," and Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), who is actually from an alternate universe variant of the character since the original Gamora died in "Avengers: Infinity War."

Another notable change can be seen in the villain-turned-hero Nebula (Karen Gillan), who has a new cybernetic arm that appears to have the same shape-shifting abilities as the nanotech Iron Man suits developed by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Not only the arm can be seen warping into a large swirling cannon that fires out a glowing projectile of energy — just like the palm cannons on Tony's suit — at one point she's also able to shift it into a hacking device for the High Evolutionary's ship.

Although James Gunn himself has already taken to Twitter to explain that Nebula received this arm as a gift from Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), the nanotech style and shape-changing abilities certainly make it seem like this arm could have been a group effort between Tony and Rocket — who we've already seen work together during the events of "Avengers: Endgame."

Rocket could have worked with Tony during the blip

Although the first meeting between Rocket and Tony Stark had the latter mistaking the talking raccoon for a "Build-a-Bear," a later scene in "Avengers: Endgame" shows Rocket, Tony, and Professor Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) all working together to construct a new Infinity Gauntlet using Infinity Stones gathered through a "Time Heist."

If Rocket and Tony were able to collaborate on a project of this scale (one which literally decided the fate of the entire universe) it stands to reason that they might have collaborated on a smaller-scale project as well –- particularly because both were alive during the five year gap known as "The Blip." Even if Rocket built this by himself after Tony's death, the technology present in Nebula's new arm certainly seems like it was pulled straight from Tony's own designs. Of course, unless we see this occur in a flashback or it's referenced in a later Marvel project, it's hard to know if this was with Tony's permission or not.

It's also worth noting that several fans online initially believed this arm was repurposed from the mechanical arm of Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), which was gifted to Rocket during "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special", though James Gunn once again shut this theory down on Twitter. Although we may not know exactly where this arm came from, it would certainly be nice to know that Tony Stark's legacy might live on through Rocket's gift to Nebula.