James Gunn Almost Killed Gamora Off in ‘Guardians Vol. 2′:’I Kind of Got Talked Out of It’

Gunn eventually changed the script to have Michael Rooker’s Yondu die instead.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, Zoe Saldana, 2017. © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection
"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
©Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett / Everett Collection

One of the more complicated aspects of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is that the Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) seen in the film isn’t the Gamora from the first two films in the trilogy; that version died in 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” and in James Gunn’s latest, Saldaña plays a time-displaced version of the character from before the events of the first movie.

But that might not have happened had Gunn stuck with his original plan for the second film in the “Guardians” franchise, which would have seen Gamora sacrifice herself to save the team. Gunn revealed this plan to Comic Book.com in a recent interview, saying he was motivated by Saldaña’s openness about not wanting to play the character for an extended length of time.

“Gamora almost died in ‘Vol. 2,’” Gunn said. “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 this]. And so I was going to have her die. I thought she was the one that was going to sacrifice herself.”

Ultimately, Gunn changed his mind after speaking to his bosses Kevin Feige and Louis D’Esposito, who urged him to spare Gamora in the film. Instead, Michael Rooker’s Yondu made the final sacrifice, and although Gunn was hesitant because Rooker is his close friend, he felt it worked better for the film’s storyline and themes.

“I was kind of talked out of it by Kevin and Louis and then it just didn’t work that well. It didn’t feel right,” Gunn said. “It felt much more right to go where we go in that movie. That seemed what was correct for the story.”

Gamora ultimately died in the very next film she appeared in, and Gunn said that “Infinity War’s” directors Joe and Anthony Russo reached out to him for permission before they pulled the plug.

“They called me up and said, ‘We’re thinking about this, does this work? Can you work with this?’” Gunn said. “And I went, ‘Got it, yeah. I really can.'”

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is Gunn’s last film for Marvel, now that the director has moved over to DC Studios as its CEO and director of “Superman: Legacy.” “Guardians Vol. 3” — starring Saldaña, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Sean Gunn — opened May 5 and grossed $114 million domestically in its first weekend.

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