Gamora Makes Official MCU Return WITHOUT Zoe Saldana

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Zoe Saldana as Gamora (left) looking at Chris Pratt's Peter Quill/Star-Lord in the cockpit of the Milano

Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s What If…? has finally reached its conclusion. Debuting two months ago on August 11, the new animated series from Marvel Studios has captured the world with its alternate versions of characters and events within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After weeks of waiting, Marvel fans have finally met What If…?‘s Gamora, except this time it’s not Zoe Saldana playing the heroic Guardian of the Galaxy, it’s someone making their MCU debut.

What If...? Marvel Studios logo
Credit: Marvel Studios

When What If…? debuted it didn’t seem to come with the fanfare of its predecessors. WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki brought the live-action MCU to the small-screen for the first time. Along with bringing back characters like Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), Bucky Barnes AKA Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Sam Wilson AKA Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the new series also substantially set up forthcoming events in Kevin Feige’s Marvel Universe.

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch in WandaVision's finale
Credit: Marvel Studios

Perhaps the biggest event, arguably so, was the shocking Multiversal climax in Loki when the titular character and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) confronted “He Who Remains” (Jonathan Majors) and caused a cataclysmic effect in the Multiverse. Due to What If…?‘s release date, the animated series has served almost as a Loki “spinoff” with each new episode tackling another alternate universe in an effort to further explore the expanding MCU.

sophia di martino as lady loki sylvie (left) and tom hiddleston as loki (right) in loki series on disney plus
Credit: Marvel Studios

Fans are loving it too, even as the series has recast some fan-favorite actors in the television show. Notably, characters like Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) have all been recast with Mick Wingert, Josh Keaton, Alexandra Daniels, Hudson Thames, and Lake Bell voicing the Avenger characters, respectively. You can check the complete cast list here.

Spider-Man wearing cape in What If...?
Credit: Marvel Studios

What If…? director, Bryan Andrews, has commented that scheduling issues may have been an issue in the full MCU cast not returning for the series, while executive producer, Brad Winderbaum, alluded to Marvel’s deal with Sony Pictures as the reason Holland may not have voiced Spidey in the TV show. Another character that fans knew would be replaced with a new actress was Gamora, and it wasn’t until recently that viewers knew who had replaced Zoe Saldana for What If…?

Gamora (left) and Star-Lord (right) about to kiss
Credit: Marvel Studios

Who plays Gamora in What If…?

Starring in the finale episode of the Marvel Comics adaptation, Marvel Studios gave a first proper look at the Guardian of the Galaxy in her Thanos garb.

Gamora arrives! See her in the season finale of Marvel Studios’ #WhatIf, streaming Wednesday on @DisneyPlus

The character that Saldana originated for the live-action MCU has been quietly featured throughout Marvel’s trailers for the animated series, including the newest mid-season trailer that hinted at a possible Avengers-style event. Seemingly teaming up with characters like Peggy Carter AKA Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Black Widow, Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), Doctor Strange Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch), and T’Challa/Star-Lord (Chadwick Boseman), Gamora’s involvement in What If…? could tease a “Guardians of the Multiverse” storyline for the comic book adaptation.

Black Widow, Captain Carter and Gamora
Credit: Marvel Studios

Thanks to the finale episode airing, we now know who is taking on the character. Titled “What If… the Watcher Broke His Oath?”, Gamora makes her What If…? debut played by Cynthia McWilliams.

Cynthia McWilliams
Credit: Cynthia McWilliams Instagram

McWilliams is perhaps best known for Nashville, Prison Break, and The Real Husbands of Hollywood shared her delight at bringing the character to the animated alternate reality on Instagram. Posting the official poster of Gamora, the actress said:

What if I was the voice of #Gamora on @whatif? Well, I AM!!!! I’m so excited to be voicing for @marvelstudios@disneyplus and with this AMAZING CAST OF voiceover performers and many of the original actors from the Marvel franchise!!! check me out on the season finale – I’m also just geeked out over this show; if you haven’t been watching, catch up!

Gamora in Thanos armor in What If...?
Credit: Marvel Studios

Gamora’s return is a big moment for the MCU. Fans last saw the character in the Marvel movie, Avengers: Endgame (2019), after the character returned from a different timeline with Thanos (Josh Brolin) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) to take on the Avengers and to retrieve the Infinity Stones. The ending of the record-breaking movie left fans wondering if they would see Saldana’s Gamora again after Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) searched for her on his ship’s computer before arguing with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) over becoming the “Asgardians of the Galaxy”.

Peter Quill searching for Gamora on the ship's computers
Credit: Marvel Studios

There is still a lot yet to come from James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy characters. Following Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame, there’s an appearance in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder (2022). Then a Disney+ seasonal moment with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022), before the third installment, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, debuts in 2023. As of right now, Saldana is only slated to appear in the latter.

Have you been watching What If…? on Disney+? Let us know in the comments!

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