How Is Gamora Alive in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’?

The Big Picture

  • Gamora dies in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ when Thanos sacrifices her for the Soul Stone, and her death is permanent.
  • In ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ a variant of Gamora from a different timeline is brought to the Avengers’ timeline by Thanos and his army.
  • In ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,’ the variant Gamora, who doesn’t remember her previous adventures with the Guardians, joins the Ravagers and explores her new relationships.

Editor’s Note: The following contains Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 spoilers.Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is finally on Disney+, bringing back our favorite band of ragtag heroes for an emotional final ride through the Marvel Cinematic Universe before James Gunn focuses all his energy on the new DCU. So, as expected, multiple members of the Guardians of the Galaxy reach the end of the road in Vol. 3, including Gamora (Zoe Saldaña). But wait, wasn’t Gamora dead in the MCU? So how is she still a main character of Vol. 3? Since the MCU started to mess around with time-traveling and the Multiverse, things did get more complicated, which is why it’s never too much to recap what the heck is going on with Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.

Gamora Dies in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

The Mad Titan Thanos close-up with a calm expression and fiery background

In Avengers: Infinity War, we follow Thanos (Josh Brolin) as he collects every Infinity Stone, one by one. Over the decade before Infinity War, Marvel Studios has cleverly hidden five Infinity Stones in other movies so that fans could get a detailed picture of the challenges Thanos would have to overcome if he ever hoped to succeed. However, the sixth gem, the Soul Stone, appeared for the first time in Infinity War. The Soul Stone holds a special place among the Infinity Stones since it can give its wielder power over the spirits of any living creature. Because of that, the Soul Stone can only be claimed by someone who willingly sacrifices a loved person. The rule is clear: a soul for a Soul.

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In Infinity War, Thanos takes Gamora to Vomir, the planet home to the Soul Stone. After learning about the price he has to pay to fulfill his goal, Thanos starts crying and eventually throws Gamora off a cliff. Thanos thinks of Gamora as his true child, and by killing her, the Mad Titan is sacrificing everything he loves to fulfill his duty. And just like that, Gamora meets a devastating death. And while the MCU already showed some characters can resurrect, that is not the case with Gamora. That’s because, as Avengers: Endgame reveals, any sacrifice made for the Soul Stone is definitive and cannot be reverted even with the power of all the Infinity Stones. Still, there is a Variant of Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, thanks to the Multiverse and time-traveling shenanigans.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Brings Gamora Back, With a Twist

The female Avengers in Marvel's Avengers: Endgame
Image via Marvel Studios

In Avengers: Endgame, the Avengers join forces to retrieve the Infinity Stones and undo Thanos’ Snap. Since Thanos destroyed the Infinity Stones in their timeline, also known as Earth-616, the Avengers must go back in time and scour alternate timelines for each stone. As part of the Time Heist, Nebula (Karen Gillan) retrieves the Power Stone from the same temple Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) took it in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. However, since Nebula is part machine, and another version of her exists in that timeline, the Nebula Variant gets a transmission of the Original Nebula that reveals to Thanos everything that happened on Earth-616. So, since Variant Thanos is now aware he wins the battle against the Avengers but might lose everything thanks to the Time Heist, the Mad Titan also crosses the barrier of the Multiverse, invading Earth-616.

When Variant Thanos gets to Earth-616, he brings his full army. That also means his two daughters, Variant Nebula, and Variant Gamora. Once the fight is done and Thanos is defeated, everyone who came to Earth-616 with the Mad Titan gets stuck in the Avengers’ original timeline. That’s the case of Variant Gamora. So, the version of Gamora who currently exists in the MCU came from a different timeline and never shared adventures with the Guardians. That explains why her relationship with Peter is completely different in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Explores Gamora’s Variant Dynamics

Zoe Saldana as Gamora on a character poster for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Image via Marvel Studios

As Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 begins, we learn that Peter is still shattered by Gamora’s death, drinking his sorrows away until he’s unable to captain the Guardians of the Galaxy. That’s because, while he still keeps all the fond memories he created while dating the deceased Gamora, the Variant of his ex-girlfriend doesn’t remember anything about their love. Things get more complicated once Nebula hires Variant Gamora and the Ravagers to help the Guardians save Rocket’s (voiced by Bradley Cooper) life. In Vol. 3, the Variant Gamora is working with the MCU’s space pirates, who replaced the Guardians as her found family. So, with Variant Gamora being dragged into the team again, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 must deal with Gamora’s awkward existence.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 doesn’t shy away from joking away Gamora’s previous murder and brushes over the fact that people sacrificed in exchange for the Soul Stone can never come back to life. However, most importantly, the fact we are following Variant Gamora allows Gunn to approach the character in a different light.

Image via Marvel Studios

The Original Gamora betrayed Thanos and found a new family in the Guardians. The Variant Gamora was just pushed into a timeline she didn’t comprehend and never really had the time to think about her complicated relationship with Thanos. That’s why she doesn’t stick with the Guardians. They have no history together, and these strange people didn’t help Variant Gamora to overcome her traumas. Still, both versions of Gamora feel lonely and are searching for friends. That’s why Variant Gamora becomes a proud member of the Ravagers. So, while fate has changed history for Variant Gamora, she still manages to create meaningful connections with different people, sharing the glory of a life of adventures. Yes, she could have this with the Guardians, but life pushed her toward the Ravagers.

Saldaña has said before she’s done with the MCU, even though she hopes another star can take over the role of Gamora. Respecting her wishes, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 serves as a farewell to the Original Gamora, as Peter and the fans get to realize that woman is dead and won’t come back. Still, Gamora remains a complex and interesting character who could have many more stories to tell. As such, recasting Gamora and exploring her adventures with the Ravagers wouldn’t be a bad idea for the MCU.

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