Warning: This post contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Gamora returned in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after being killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and avoiding getting snapped away by Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame. Since their debut in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios’ premiere cosmic heroes have faced repeated hardships and tragedy. However, the end of the MCU’s Infinity Saga perhaps marked the team’s biggest loss yet, as Zoe Saldaña’s Gamora was sacrificed by Thanos on Vormir in exchange for the Soul Stone. Even so, this wasn’t the end for Gamora in the MCU.
Five years after Thanos erased half of the population of the universe, the remaining members of the Avengers banded together to embark on the Time Heist, traveling through time to collect the Infinity Stones for themselves. These travels unwittingly allowed the 2014 version of Thanos and his army to journey to the MCU’s present day, leading to Avengers: Endgame’s epic final battle. With Thanos came his daughters, a brutal version of Nebula and a version of Gamora from before she met the Guardians of the Galaxy. While Tony Stark snapped away Thanos and his army, Gamora curiously avoided death, allowing her to appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Gamora Survived Iron Man’s Snap In Avengers: Endgame Because Of The Soul Stone
Tony Stark’s sacrificial snap at the end of Avengers: Endgame disintegrated Thanos and his army, but Gamora survived. Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3 briefly acknowledges the potential confusion this caused when Peter says it concerns complicated Soul Stone logic, but there is a more concrete explanation. Gamora survived Tony’s snap because she had changed allegiances when it happened. The stones can interpret the users’ intentions, and Tony only snaps Thanos’ invading forces. Nebula had already convinced Gamora that Thanos was in the wrong by this point, so the soul stone likely sensed that she was no longer a threat.
The Gamora In Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Is Not The Same One From Vol. 1 And Vol. 2
Despite first appearing in the MCU as the “daughter” and right-hand-woman of Thanos in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Gamora quickly becomes an ally after Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Drax, and Gamora escape from the Kyln prison. After growing close with the team – especially Peter Quill – and fighting Ronan, Ego, and more, Thanos sacrifices her to attain the Soul Stone. This version of Gamora stays dead, and the one in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is instead a variant from the past.
In Endgame, a Thanos from 2014, along with Nebula, Gamora, the Black Order, and his army, travel to the present to wipe out the Avengers. They’re all killed or snapped away by Tony Stark except Gamora, and it is this version that returns in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. However, given that this Gamora never met the Guardians on Xandar, fell in love with Quill, or went through any of the other bits of characters development seen in original Gamora’s three MCU appearances, it was a mystery what Gamora has been doing between Endgame and GotG 3, but the latter does present vague answers.
What Gamora Has Been Doing Since Avengers: Endgame
While the Guardians of the Galaxy have a small role in Phase 4’s Thor: Love and Thunder, Gamora is absent, beckoning questions about what she’s been doing since leaving Endgame‘s climactic battle. While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 doesn’t get into detailed specifics, a broad answer is given that explains where she’s been. 2014 Gamora has been living with Yondu’s original Ravagers team, who were introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. This group, led by Stakar in Vol. 3, returns to help the Guardians’ Orgocorp heist. Gamora infiltrates the space station with the Guardians, and she gets stuck with them for the rest of the film.
Why Gamora’s Return Is So Important For Guardians Of The Galaxy 3’s Story
While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3‘s narrative is centered on saving Rocket’s life and confronting his origins with the High Evolutionary, the fractured relationship between Gamora and the Guardians of the Galaxy fits perfectly with the movie’s wider themes. In GotG Vol. 3, writer/director James Gunn presents a story about the complex relationships that people can have with their past. While Rocket has to confront the monstrous High Evolutionary, forgive himself for his perceived failings, and learn to be proud of who and what he is, Quill has to stop running from his own tragedies and finally accept that the woman he loves is truly gone.
While it may have been tempting to let Quill and this Gamora fall in love all over again, the fact that she ultimately returns to the Ravagers at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 honors her as a unique person with agency and speaks to the power of nurture, not just nature, in who people are. This is the push that Quill needs to finally accept original Gamora’s death and make the difficult decision to return to Earth and acknowledge his pre-abduction past.