“I know I was a little girl starving to have more female heroes. I held on to the very few that were out there and then I just had to become one because that’s what we do for our little girls.” — Zoe Saldana
“I am going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.” —Gamora
Described as a living weapon, Gamora is the adopted daughter of the Mad Titan Thanos. Her tragic origin story involves Thanos kidnapping her in childhood and forcing her to undergo extensive training, all for the purpose of making her into his ideal lieutenant. Fueled by revenge against those who committed genocide against her people, Gamora’s wrath for those who have wronged her knows no bounds.
Zoe Saldana plays the emerald assassin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but Gamora’s place among the Guardians is a far cry from where the character started out in comics in 1975. Nicknamed the “Deadliest Woman in the Universe,” Gamora’s superior skills as an assassin and her never-ending family drama have made her one of the most popular female Marvel heroes. Is she different in the movies compared to the comics? How strong is she, really? Check out these 24 lethal facts about Gamora.
25. Torro, Torro
Saldana was very careful about how she crafted Gamora’s character, from her physical appearance to the way she moved on screen. During testing before the movie, she insisted repeatedly that the team focus on making her pretty enough to get the nod of approval from teenage boys. She also asked the choreographers to study bullfighters, as Saldana wanted Gamora to emulate “the way a bullfighter can seduce a bull into surrendering to its own death without touching him at all.”
24. What’s in a Name?
Gamora’s full name is Gamora Zen Whoberi Beri Ben Titan. Now that’s a mouthful. There is a running joke that her people’s name is like “zen hubris” or “mellow arrogance.” What an oxymoron, and yet it fits her.
23. Hear Ye, Hear Ye
Gamora’s character originally started out in the comics as a mere henchman for Thanos. Her creator, Jim Starlin, the man responsible for other well-known Marvel characters such as Drax the Destroyer and Thanos, wanted to create a grand entrance for Thanos and designed Gamora specifically for that role, as she announced his arrival one issue before he appeared. What a shame it would have been if Starlin hadn’t allowed her character to evolve.
22. Sweet and Sour Revenge
Gamora is the last of her people, the Zen-Whoberis, regardless of which storyline you follow from the comics. This makes her sole focus in life getting revenge for her fallen people.
21. Is Someone Missing?
In one storyline, Gamora and Adam Warlock get a romantic ending after defeating Thanos’ clones together. They then have a child, who is never, ever mentioned again.
20. Martial Arts Master
Gamora has trained and mastered most of the different types of martial arts—83.4% of them, in fact. That includes unarmed combat and weapons training. She is also extremely skilled in gymnastics, and with her speed and agility, there’s no doubt that she is an assassin worth fearing.
19. To the Big Screen
Gamora made her cinematic debut in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, played by Zoe Saldana. Since then, Saldana has donned Gamora’s iconic green makeup in other Marvel movies, most recently in Avengers: Infinity War.
18. Don’t Bring a Gun to a Swordfight
In the opening scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) sees Gamora holding a gun and asks, “Don’t you use a sword?” He’s referring to Gamora’s preference to use swords and knives. In the comics, Gamora’s favorite blade is named Godslayer. Apparently it’s composed of a mysterious, unbreakable substance and is capable of taking down super powerful beings like gods (as the name implies).
17. Leave It to the Pros
Former UFC fighter Gina Carano was in the running to play Gamora in the early stages of the movie planning process. Carano instead ended up playing another strong female character in the MCU, the part of the super-strong/super-fast mutant Angel Dust in Deadpool. It would have definitely been something to see Carano and Dave Bautista, who plays Gamora’s fellow Guardian Drax, on screen together as two real-life professional fighters.
16. From the Mouths of Babes
James Gunn, director of the Guardians movies, reportedly told the actors not to read the comic books for research into their characters. An interesting choice, but understandable given how much the characters have evolved over the decades and how confusing their back stories can be. Luckily, Saldana’s nephew does read the comics and gave her a piece of advice that turned out to be the key to unlocking Gamora’s character: not only is she a deadly warrior and assassin, but she is defined by her sense of righteousness. Saldana used her nephew’s words to base Gamora’s character on someone who always wants to do the right thing.
15. Happy 40th Birthday!
The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is 40 years old. Hard to believe, given it only rose to popularity in the last five years or so. The Guardians team has looked very different from the one presented in the MCU, so Gunn had to choose one version to focus on, which was the 2008 comic book by Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett.
14. Dirty Harriet
One of the aspects Saldana struggled with in understanding and shaping Gamora’s character is her emotional side (or lack thereof). For Guardians Vol. 2, Saldana wanted to present Gamora as sobbing to the point that her nose was dripping with mucus, but director Gunn shut that idea down, saying, “You’re like the Clint Eastwood of the movie.” Cool, calm and collected.
13. Sister, Sister
One of the aspects of Gamora’s storyline that’s explored more in the MCU than in the comics is Gamora’s love/hate relationship with her blue-tinted sister, Nebula (played by Karen Gillan). In this case “sister” is used loosely, as the two are not related by blood in the slightest, but they were both raised and trained by Thanos. Saldana has said the relationship between Gamora and Nebula is her favorite aspect of Guardians, and hits close to home for her, having sisters of her own.
12. Mama Knows Best
Many viewers of both Guardians films saw a different Gamora in the second movie from the one they saw in the first, and Saldana agrees that the character has evolved. Saldana even went so far as to say that Gamora is the complete opposite of who she was in the first movie, and that’s because she developed a kind of maternal instinct. Instead of running away from her family or plotting to kill them, in the second film Gamora is doing everything in her power to keep them together.
11. Time After Time
At one point in the comics, Thanos achieves his goal of collecting the infinity stones (as moviegoers saw happen on the big screen in Avengers: Infinity War) and is defeated by a group of heroes led by Adam Warlock. Gamora was among the heroes who fought against Thanos and was entrusted with keeping the time gem safe. After this, Gamora sometimes accidentally used the gem to tap into its power and gaze into the future through visions and dreams, though she had no control over what she was shown.
10. Girl Power
In the comic world, Gamora does eventually meet a woman as strong as she is who doesn’t want to kill her (all the time). Her best friend is none other than Thor’s long-lost sister Angela. The two respect each other’s skill and bond over their battle experiences.
9. Eye of the Tiger
Gamora once trained Bruce Banner’s cousin, She-Hulk, after she lost a match to the Champion of the Universe. The Champion of the Universe is an immortal being who isn’t affected by physical attacks and who doesn’t seem to think women can be a threat in battle. Gamora trains She-Hulk in her human body (as Jennifer Walters) so that when she fights the Champion for their rematch, She-Hulk is much stronger and leaves the ring victorious.
8. No Shame in Her Game
Gamora is a character who is sexually liberated and has no problems attracting her share of men. Notable hookups in the comics include none other than Iron Man. Sorry, Star Lord.
7. Stamp of Approval
Starlin had a chance to meet Saldana in person at the Guardians Vol. 2 premiere, after which he posted on Twitter: “Had a lovely chat with Zoe Saldana about a certain emerald hued lady we both have in common … Personally I think she’s the closest to being right on the money on playing the character I wrote in the comics.” Big praise from a Marvel OG.
6. Role Models Still Needed
Saldana made it no secret to Gunn that she wanted to portray Gamora as a female character who was physically strong and capable of killing when necessary. As a sci-fi fan who looked up to the few female characters available to her generation, Saldana took the opportunity of playing Gamora to bring attention to the lack of roles for powerful women in sci-fi and fantasy movies.
5. Breaking the Glass Ceiling
In addition to Saldana’s sentiments about increasing women’s presence in what she calls “under-served” places, it’s worth noting that the Guardians of the Galaxy screenplay was co-written by a woman, Nicole Perlman. Perlman is the first woman writer credited on a Marvel film.
4. Well, This Is Awkward
In the comics, Gamora joins the Guardians of the Galaxy following the lead of Adam Warlock. However, they end up quitting the team pretty quickly once they find out Star Lord pulled a shady move and asked Mantis to control their emotions so that they would want to stay with the group.
3. Bring the Heat
What made Saldana stand out to Gunn is her feistiness and the energy she brings to a conversation. When they first spoke on the phone about the role, Gunn couldn’t believe how fast Saldana talked, and has mentioned in interviews that she is the only cast member with whom he will get into full-on yelling matches on set, due to them both being so passionate about their work. Don’t worry, they’re also the two who hang out the most together outside of work.
2. No Tears Left to Cry
Thanos made several cybernetic upgrades to Gamora’s body after adopting her, hoping to give her the power to rival the abilities of one of his greatest enemies, Adam Warlock, a super strong cosmic hero who may be appearing in the MCU soon (see the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 post-credits scene). Thanos gave Gamora superhuman strength and the ability to withstand reality distortion. He also gifted her boosted healing; she heals so quickly that she can take the heat of a dying sun. In the comics, it’s mentioned that Thanos even rerouted her tear ducts so that Gamora is physically unable to cry.
1. Spoilers, Zoe!
[Spoiler Alert] The shocking ending of Avengers: Infinity War left fans desperate for any news about the next film, and Zoe Saldana recently posted an Instagram video that seems to confirm a key fan-theory about the upcoming Avengers 4. The video features Saldana in full Gamora makeup, but eagle-eyed fans have noticed a tiny detail that heavily implies that a solution Thanos’ mass-murder of the Marvel universe. These fans saw that Saldana was wearing a top that Gamora had worn in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, but not in any subsequent appearances, seeming to confirm that time travel will be involved in reversing the damage that Thanos has done.