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We Now Know The Real Reason Endgame Brought Gamora Back

It turns out that Avengers: Endgame's writers don't simply have a soft spot for deadly, green alien warriors.

In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely revealed that they had a specific reason for including the return of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) in their script: so the character would be available for James Gunn to use in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

You'll recall that of the many, many shocking deaths to be featured in Avengers: Infinity War, Gamora's was one that seemed as if it would be permanent. She was forced to accompany her adoptive father Thanos to the planet Vormir, where anyone brave and/or determined enough could acquire the Soul Stone... for a price. Thanos was informed by the stone's protector (a ghostly, wraithlike Red Skull) that in order to possess the stone, one must give up that which they love — and it just so happened the only thing Thanos loved in the universe, his daughter, was standing right next to him.

Thanos hesitated for the briefest of moments before chucking Gamora to her doom from one of Vormir's rocky cliffs, securing the stone and eventually succeeding in his mission to snap half of all life in the universe out of existence. At the film's climax, audiences watched in horror as beloved heroes like Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man crumbled to dust — but we had an inkling that said heroes might be returning. (Spider-Man: Far From Home having publicly been in development for some time and Black Panther having just made over a billion dollars, for instance, were kind of giveaways.)

Gamora, however — like Loki and Heimdall, who met their ends in the film's brutal opening scene — didn't perish in the Snap, but was killed outright by Thanos. Also, her death was the price for securing the Soul Stone... and as we learned when Black Widow sacrificed herself so that Hawkeye could get his hands on that very stone during the events of Avengers: Endgame, such a death cannot be reversed. 

Markus and McFeely, however, found a way around that problem by using the Avengers' time-traveling Endgame shenanigans to re-introduce the 2014 version of Gamora, one who had not yet met up with the Guardians. In the scribes' conversation with CinemaBlend, McFeely clarified that that particular plot element was basically put in place so that Gunn could have his entire team on deck for Guardians 3.

"There are... parts [in Endgame that were written] so that Gunn could do whatever he needs to do," he said, adding that a poignant Endgame deleted scene — the one in which everyone present at the final battle takes a knee after the death of Tony Stark — also made it clear that, after taking part in said battle, 2014 Gamora wanted nothing further to do with anyone.

"You saw the behind the scenes stuff where they all kneel, and [Gamora] sort of boogies off set," he said. "If [the filmmakers had left that scene in], you would've gone, 'Oh, she's alive and she's over there.' It's very vague now. I don't know what [Gunn is] going to do with it."

What can we expect from Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?

Well, neither do we, but that's never stopped us from speculating. 2014 Gamora pointedly does not take off with the Guardians at the conclusion of Endgame, and really, why would she? She has no idea who these people (and trees and raccoons) even are. Where could she be heading off to? Parts unknown, obviously... but with her adoptive father gone and her relationship with Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) never having been forged, there's really only one person in the galaxy she has any kind of kinship with — her sister, Nebula, who is currently tagging along with the Guardians.

Perhaps Gamora will seek out Nebula in an attempt to get some answers about what in the hell exactly happened with Thanos and the weird army of superpowered Terrans, or maybe she'll head off into some forbidding corner of the galaxy and get herself into a jam — the kind of jam that her friends would be compelled to help bail her out of, even if she doesn't exactly know them yet.

We do know one thing that we would love to see in Guardians 3: more of the hilarious would-be love triangle between Gamora, Quill, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who departed to go on adventures with his buddy the rabbit and the rest of the Guardians at the conclusion of Endgame. It's not at all clear whether Thor will be part of the Guardians team by the time Vol. 3 rolls around; he's going to have issues of his own to contend with when writer/director Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder drops in November 2021, and there's absolutely no way we'll be seeing the conclusion of the Guardians trilogy anytime before 2022. But Markus and McFeely made a bold and interesting choice in having Thor join the Guardians at the end of Endgame, and if we know Gunn (and we think we do), he'll relish the opportunity to include Hemsworth's Thunder God in Guardians 3.

We also know that Gunn wasn't blindsided by Gamora's fate in Infinity War, but was totally in the loop as to what Markus and McFeely intended to do with his character — meaning that he's had plenty of time to mull over where to take her arc in Guardians 3. It would absolutely shock us if the "deadliest woman in the galaxy" was anything but key to the plot of the third Guardians movie — heck, perhaps she'll even somehow find a way to rediscover the memories of her alternate timeline self, the one who died so that her "father" might succeed (and then, ultimately, fail) in his terrible mission. It would take some pretty hardcore narrative acrobatics, but if anyone is capable of pulling those off without shattering our suspension of disbelief, it's Gunn.

In any event, the situation interestingly illustrates the kind of synergy necessary for all of these amazing franchises to exist within the same shared universe, and — as McFeely noted — the extent to which filmmakers must be content to simply pass the ball to the next person to continue the story of any given character. 

"I... liked that little dangling piece of time travel," the scribe said. "The bow wasn't completely wrapped up and there was a little bit of an after effect... I don't know how it's going to affect the coming Guardians, but just leaving some strings, when you're tying up this many strings, it's satisfying to know that there are a few still still dangling."

For as long as the Marvel Cinematic Universe exists — that is to say, until the Earth is actually swallowed up by Galactus — it seems likely that there will always be a few strings left for the next filmmaker in line to tug on. As far as this one goes, we're going to go ahead and guess that Guardians 3 will see Quill remember the way to Gamora's heart: through the musical stylings of Elvin Bishop. His melodies are pleasant.