Marvel Execs Talked James Gunn Out of Killing Gamora in ‘Guardians Vol. 2,’ but They Had Less Say Over Character Fates in ‘Vol. 3’

“Guardians of the Galaxy” writer-director James Gunn revealed in a recent interview with that Zoe Saldaña’s Gamora was nearly killed off in 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” a year before the character met her demise in “Avengers: Infinity War.” According to Gunn, it was Marvel executives that talked him out of the decision.

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

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Instead of killing off Gamora in “Vol. 2,” Gunn killed off Michael Rooker’s Yondu. The director said he was “afraid” of doing so because Rooker is a close friend, “but that was where the story naturally progressed to.” Eventually, “Infinity War” directors Joe and Anthony Russo called Gunn to inform him of their plan to kill Gamora.

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

Because the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a constantly evolving story, big decisions like killing off a character often can’t be made by a sole writer or director, as it might alter Marvel’s larger plans for later movies. If Gunn killed Gamora in “Vol. 2,” for instance, the Russo brothers would’ve had to overhaul their plans for “Infinity War.”

But such limitations were not placed on Gunn for the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” Asked by Gizmodo how much freedom Gunn had in deciding where his main characters end up in “Vol. 3,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said there were far less limitations or rules placed on Gunn than on other Marvel directors.

“I think he gets all the slack,” Feige said. “As much slack as there is to give, he is given.”

Gunn agreed, saying, “I get all the slack, especially on this one.”

“On previous movies, we had some discussions about that but not on this one,” Feige said. “This one really was about seeing it through because it always was designed as a trilogy capper.”

According to Feige’s explanation, Gunn had more reign than unusual to do whatever he wanted with the characters in “Vol. 3.” If Gunn planned to kill off Star Lord or any other character, Marvel executives would not interfere like they did on “Vol. 2.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” opens in theaters nationwide May 5 from Disney.

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