Zoe Saldana’s ‘Guardians’ Character Was Supposed to Die Pre-‘Infinity War’

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Marvel Studio; Gamora 'Guardians' and her father Thanos

Credit: Inside the Magic

Ahead of the release of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023), director James Gunn recently dropped a bombshell revelation about the fate of Zoe Saldana’s Gamora, saying she was initially supposed to be killed off much earlier on in the MCU.

Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, and Zoe Saldana as Gamora with Blurp in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' (2023)
Credit: Marvel Studios

The fan-favorite Guardians are gearing up for one last ride in Vol. 3, which sees Chris Pratt reprising his role as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Dave Bautista as Drax, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket Raccoon, Vin Diesel as Groot, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Saldana as Gamora, and Pom Klementieff as Mantis, along with some other MCU newcomers.

Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and Drax (Dave Bautista)
Credit: Marvel Studios

It’s been a long journey for the titular team of heroes. Throughout their time in the franchise, they’ve gone head-to-head with Thanos (Josh Brolin), Ego (Kurt Russell), Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), and countless others. Now, they might be preparing to fight their biggest adversary yet: The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji).

Check out the official trailer for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 below:

While she is back in action for Vol. 3 (or an alternate version of her usual self, at least), Gamora paid the ultimate price after her pseudo-father, Thanos, sacrificed her for the Soul Stone in Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

Josh Brolin's Thanos in Endgame
Credit: Marvel Studios

But according to Gunn, Gamora was intended to “die” long before then—and the reason why might surprise you.

Speaking with ComicBook.com, Gunn revealed that Gamora almost met a grim fate in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), although those plans were scrapped. When asked why, Gunn explained that he knew Saldana’s time with the studio was limited, “so [he] was going to have [Gamora] die:”

So things always change and you never know. But Gamora almost died in ‘Vol. 2.’ I knew from the beginning Zoe only wanted to play the character for so many years, and she’s been very honest saying that she’s done [after ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’]. And so I was going to have her die.

Gamora's return
Credit: Marvel Studios

Ultimately, with the encouragement of Marvel President Kevin Feige, it was decided that Michael Rooker’s Yondu would be a catalyst for Peter Quill’s character development in the sequel instead of Gamora—something that felt “correct” for the story and its narrative:

I was kind of talked out of it by Kevin [Feige] and Lou [D’Esposito], and then it just didn’t work that well. It didn’t feel right, it felt much more right to go where we go in that movie. That seemed what was correct for the story.

While it’s not precisely clear why Saldana wanted out of the MCU after so many years, it’s likely due to her other commitments, including starring in James Cameron’s mega-successful Avatar franchise. And with Vol. 3 serving as the last installment in Gunn’s Guardians franchise, it’s not surprising that Saldana would choose to make her MCU exit following its release. Still, it’s impressive she remained involved in the franchise for nearly a decade.

Nebula and Gamora arguing
Credit: Marvel Studios

Given that Gamora’s Avengers: Infinity War death was such a crucial plot element, it’s hard to imagine a universe where she was killed much sooner. Perhaps, if Yondu lived, he would’ve taken her place in the team. Or maybe, a different hero would’ve had to have been sacrificed on the cliffs of Vormir for Thanos to collect the Soul Stone.

Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan as the Guardians of the Galaxy in 'The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' (2023). Credit: Marvel Studios
Credit: Marvel Studios

In an alternate reality, Saldana’s Gamora might not’ve made it all the way to Vol 3., but we’re sure glad she did. It’s hard to imagine the Guardians franchise without Gamora, and thankfully, fans can look forward to seeing her on the big screen when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arrives in theaters on May 5.

What do you think of James Gunn’s original plans to kill Gamora early on in the MCU? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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