Zoe Saldana Talks About Gamora’s Important Role In Infinity War
Pull up a chair, we need to talk about Gamora SPOILERS SPOILERS, etc.
[If you haven’t seen Infinity War yet, stop reading now lest ye be spoiled!]
Like most folks, I left Avengers: Infinity War with too many feelings. So many beloved characters turned to dust when Thanos snapped his bejeweled fingers, that I nearly gave myself whiplash trying to tally all the casualties. Granted, as heartrending as that final sequence was, there are things that we as pop culture nerds know to be true.
First off, no one is ever really truly dead, especially in the world of comics. Resurrection stones, magic spells, time travel, digitally uploaded consciousnesses…there’s no shortage of ways to bring back long lost beloved characters. Secondly (and more cynically), we know that Marvel didn’t introduce all these new heroes just to clear them off the map. It’s a pretty safe bet to assume that, with sequels on the horizon, this isn’t the last we’ve seen of T’Challa or Peter Parker or a host of other newly minted Avengers. In fact, I would put money on an endgame scenario that features our O.G. Avengers somehow sacrificing themselves to reverse the snap and bring everyone back.
But of course, not everyone who died can come back. To maintain the emotional stakes of Infinity War, it’s a safe bet that some characters will remain dead, most likely those who died before the snap: Loki, Heimdall, a slew of Asgardians, and Gamora. Although we don’t yet know for sure who is and isn’t being resurrected, it sounds like Zoe Saldana is finished with the character. In an interview with the LA Times, Zoe Saldana discusses Gamora’s death, saying:
“I learned very early on. The producers called me and they told me. And of course there’s a shock to your system. I’m so grateful, this run has been amazing, but you’re so not even ready for that. But then once some of the things were discussed, I understood that it just makes sense. In order for you to understand the degree of evil that lies within the core of Thanos, you have to circle in on his own children. So I completely understood. I loved being a part of this unforgettable journey.”
Gamora dies when Thanos sacrifices her to gain possession of the Soul Stone, and her death (coupled with childhood flashbacks) gives us insight into her fraught relationship with her adopted father. Despite the kidnapping and abuse she endured as his ward, Gamora has complicated feelings for her erstwhile father figure, as discussed in a previous article. Her death is a true sacrifice for Thanos (otherwise it wouldn’t have unlocked the stone), and it seems that she is probably the only person in the universe that the mad titan truly loves.
Gamora’s death to further Thanos’s mission and character development is a classic example of fridging, but Gamora was under-served as a character long before Infinity War. Saldana was often used as the straight man to the Guardian’s wacky shenanigans, and as the only female Guardian in the first film, she was the de facto love interest for Peter Quill. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 expanded her character arc in her storyline with estranged sister Nebula, and their reunion and Nebula’s subsequent forgiveness of her helped to round out the character beyond the “badass assassin” trope. It’s disappointing that we lose Gamora once she finally comes into her own as a character.
This wouldn’t be the first time Saldana’s considerable talents are wasted: in Avatar, her character Neytiri exists solely to be a love interest to Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and to further his arc of the soldier-turned-revolutionary. Even in her role as feminist icon Lieutenant Nyota Uhura in the Star Trek films, Saldana’s character arc is often relegated to her romantic relationship with Spock. I’d love to see Saldana finally get a leading role where she gets to portray a complex, nuanced character. She certainly deserves it. In the meantime, when asked if it was hard to say goodbye to Gamora, she says:
Yes and no. It was sad, of course, because I think that we all suffer from FOMO. There is a fear always of missing out, but I’m so happy that I got to play a part in the Marvel Universe, and I also got to play a character that — it has been brought to my attention — is seen as a great role model for young women. And also for young boys. I live for that, that’s why I do what I do. So I guess I’m going to cry all the way to “Avatar,” you know?
(via LA Times, image: Marvel Entertainment)
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