Warning: Major, major spoilers from Avengers: Endgame are ahead.
If you've just seen Marvel's Avengers: Endgame, you probably walked away with about a million questions. If you're a Guardians of the Galaxy fan, then at least one of those questions involves what happened to Gamora (Zoe Saldana) in Avengers: Endgame.
In case you missed it or were slightly confused by all the time travel, the good news is that Gamora is back in the action in Endgame. While the time travel rules of the Pym Particles and Quantum Realm are decidedly not Back to the Future rules —meaning that Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) getting the Soul Stone years before Thanos (Josh Brolin) killed Gamora in order to do the same thing doesn't actually undo her death — we actually got past Gamora in the Endgame present. She comes to the present alongside Thanos when he learns of the Avengers' plan to undo his snap, and she appears to stay there. Or does she?
After she fights alongside her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), and all the women in the MCU in a powerful scene, for the good guys during the big Thanos-ending battle, Gamora is startlingly absent from Tony Stark's (Robert Downey, Jr.) funeral. Even Nebula is there. So what happened? Where did she run off to? Or worse... was Gamora dusted in the Endgame snap? She was technically part of Thanos' army when she came to the present.
We won't know for sure until Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arrives, but I'd wager that Gamora did not turn to dust with her father. While the past version of Gamora doesn't love Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) like the deceased Gamora did, ripping her away from him and fans without a word would be unnecessarily cruel. Endgame did just kill two other characters we love, but the film did so with extreme respect and care. For her part, Saldana, who spoke to Refinery29 at an event supporting the launch of Plant Oat oatmilk, isn't willing to ruin her chances at another Marvel outing by totally spilling secrets. She does seem somewhat optimistic that she'll be back, though.
"I don’t know yet if Gamora is involved [in Guardians 3]. If I’m not back, then I’m so thankful. I’ve had an amazing time. And if I’m asked back, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and dive in," she says, literally rolling up the sleeves of her jumpsuit. A big reason Saldana wants back in, of course, is that the man who helmed the other two Guardians films, James Gunn, will be back for the third installment.
When I ask what she's looking forward to in the third film, the first thing out of her mouth is that she's excited for Gunn to return. She famously signed the letter that the Guardians cast penned to get Gunn reinstated after 10-year-old tweets containing inappropriate jokes initially got him fired from the Guardians gig.
"I’m so impressed and so proud of Disney and Bob Iger," she says. "It means that redemption is possible."
But what about Gamora's redemption? It's pretty cold to ghost on Iron Man's funeral, even if she only just met the guy. But her move might make some sense, if you dig a little deeper. Gamora time traveled; embraced her previously-murderous sister (Nebula); scorned her own father (Thanos); met a total stranger who is obsessively in love with her (Peter Quill); and fought off hoards of henchman in an epic battle in the span of 15 movie minutes. Attending strangers' funerals probably wasn't first on her list since she's got a lot to process. If I was a betting woman, I'd say there's no way Guardians 3 isn't a movie wherein Thor (Chris Hemsworth) joins the Guardians as they search for their chosen mother figure and the love of Quill's life, Gamora, who's off trying to get a minute of peace, geez. You don't build the kind of relationship between two lead characters for two movies and half of Infinity War only to find a way to bring the one who died back to life and just... leave it.
Still, Saldana is keeping her information close to the vest (she clearly has no desire to be in the Mark Ruffalo and Tom Holland spoilers club), but when she speaks about how it felt to be in Endgame, especially in the scene alongside all of the other MCU female heroes, she gets visibly emotional. If Saldana doesn't return — and let's be honest, she absolutely will — she's just grateful for the fact that her space-bound roles (Gamora and Neytiri in Avatar and the upcoming sequel) have given her the opportunity to escape stereotypical roles for Latinx actresses. "Up there, I’m not someone’s maid or someone’s prostitute or someone’s mom or someone’s anything. I’m so much more."