She is one of the most dangerous characters in all of the Marvel universe, but she is also one of the least well-known; Gamora, the adopted daughter of Thanos, is the first female member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. With one of the most troubled pasts in the Marvel universe, it's amazing that Gamora ultimately decided to use her abilities to side with good.
From being an orphaned child raised by her parents' killer to become one of the most deadliest assassins ever to grace the pages of a comic book, from being trained in some of the harshest, most harrowing conditions to doing a complete 180 degree turn from baddie to superhero, Gamora's had an interesting life, to say the least. She's like the She-Ra of Marvel, but much more tragic and violent.
If you're new to the Guardians of the Galaxy or just aren't very familiar with the character, find out more with these 15 Things You Didn't Know About Gamora.
Although most people agree that Zoe Saldana plays a fierce Gamora without much room for improvement, plenty of other actresses were considered for the role. Adrianne Palicki was considered for the role, but didn’t get it. She went on to be Mockingbird on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. instead, remaining in the Marvel family just the same. Olivia Wilde was offered the role of the most deadly alien of the Marvel universe but turned it down. Gina Carano and Rachel Nichols were also considered to play Gamora, but ultimately the role went to Saldana.
Gamora wasn't the only highly coveted role of the film, of course. Star Lord contenders included Joseph Gordon Levitt, Jensen Ackles, Aaron Paul, Wes Bentley and the fantastic Eddie Redmayne. Lee Pace, who ended up playing Ronan the Accuser, also auditioned for the role of Peter Quill. Other actors considered for the voice of Rocket Raccoon before Bradley Cooper snatched it up included David Tennant, Sharlto Copley, Adam Sandler, and Jim Carrey. Jason Momoa was originally offered the role of Drax the Destroyer, as was the "Old Spice Guy," Isaiah Mustafa.
If you were the last of your species, you'd probably carry a pretty big chip on your shoulder too. Not only are you seen as the last remaining representation of an entire race, but you might also feel pretty angry and ready to avenge your species by taking out the individuals who wiped it out.
For Gamora, who is the last of the Zen-Whoberis people, this would, of course, mean killing her captor and surrogate father, Thanos, who murdered her parents right before her eyes and then decided to train her as his own weapon. Of course, we're talking about the Titan who claims to have tortured his own mother, so what else is a sociopath from the Eternal colony to do?
Depending on which of Gamora's timelines you're following, the extermination of the Zen-Whoberis can be claimed by a couple of parties. In her original timeline, which was altered (more about that later), it was the Universal Church of Truth who exterminated her species. The Badoon are also credited for accomplishing the dirty deed.
Gamora doesn't have a long, deep-rooted history in Guardians of the Galaxy like, oh, Marvel Girl/Jean Grey/ The Phoenix does with the X-Men. In fact, she's a pretty recent member of the team, historically speaking.
When Gamora first premiered in 1975, she was far from her role as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy; instead she was a supporting character, along with Pip the Troll, to Warlock. Also known as "1,000 Clowns", this comic features Gamora in her trademark ferocity on a mission to rescue Warlock and interrogate a black knight. This is where we hear her say, "I go by many Names, my Tick-Ridden Troll, but I'm sure the one that Black Knight knew me by is Gamora, the deadliest Woman in the whole Galaxy!"
Many people might say that if you have to tell someone that you're a badass, you probably aren't one. Nevertheless, this is a comic book, and Gamora has proven over and over again that she is indeed deadly.
It would be pretty long for billing purposes, but Gamora's full name is Gamora Zen Whoberi Beri Ben Titan. When Jim Starlin creates a name, he goes all out. There is a joke among fans about her name meaning "zen hubris," or mellow arrogance.
Starlin has stated that he created the character out of the need to simply have a henchman for Thanos before he was brought into the comic and it was as simple as that. He also says that Gamora was more like a child to Thanos than any typical hired assassin, which made her less likely to see him as the source of evil that he truly was.
Gamora has also gone by the name Bambi Long during Earth-616, but that's when she possessed Long-- before being duplicated and erased by Thanos when he so kindly eradicated half of the beings of the universe. Luckily she returned once Nebula took hold of the Gauntlet. Whew! We're not meant to feel very sorry for Long, either, since she helped murder someone and steal his store.
As amazing as Gamora's powers and abilities are, they don't all come with her genes. Many of her abilities stem from specialized cybernetic enhancements that Thanos designed especially for her. When she was attacked and left for dead, Thanos rescued her and had bionic implants installed within her, augmenting the skills and abilities she already possessed.
The "upgrades" that he gave her were designed to make her power rival Adam Warlock's own abilities. Her accelerated healing factor and power to resist the distortion of reality were also both bestowed upon her at this time.
Although Thanos may seem generous with her "gifts," nearly every action he took with his adopted daughter stemmed from a single desire: to mold her into a better weapon to use. These enhancements represent a particularly overzealous step toward creating the most fearsome, living weapon in the galaxy. Gamora, ever the resourceful warrior, has utilized them to her advantage many times.
When it comes to comic book characters (especially of the Marvel variety), you're unlikely to encounter the same look in a decade or two. Gamora is no exception. Since her debut comic, she has sported a wide variety of not only hair styles and outfits, but even skin tones. Sometimes she's featured with rings around her eyes, sometimes not.
Her costume ranges from one of the most impractical, ill-fitting getups in the entire history of Marvel (think Vampirella), which directly contrasts with her role as the perfect weapon (seriously, if she likes it, more power to her, but how can you fight well with that on?), to some of the most high-tech power uniforms in the universe. Her weaponry also varies with her costumes.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Gamora, Zoe Saldana sat through five hours of makeup a day, including the installment of various prosthetic silicone pieces, to create a scarred, almost computer coded look.
In one of the most terrible moments in comic book history, Gamora decided to go planetside during a trip with Thanos, against the orders of her surrogate father, and it cost her dearly. It was not the teenaged Gamora's fault, but she was blamed for her "mistake" when a band of goons not only beat her within an inch of her life but gang-raped her.
She was nearly dead when Thanos came to rescue her and killed her attackers, which makes you wonder if he waited until just then to stop them to "teach her a lesson," especially since he told her, "You've learnt valuable lessons today. I'm proud of you." Proud of her? For being gang raped and nearly killed? Or for being so submissive and ashamed upon returning?
No matter what Thanos meant, it was one of the most terrible things to ever happen to Gamora. Many readers speculate that Thanos allowed it to happen in order to "encourage" her not to disobey his orders again.
Okay, it's a time gem. Funny things can happen when you're carrying it. Gamora sometimes used the time gem to see what the future might hold. Remember when that fool of a Took grabbed Saruman's palantír (crystal ball) and attracted Sauron's attention? It's not a good idea to look into mystical balls, Gamora.
She eventually saw a future in which Adam Warlock, one of her closest companions and one of the loves of her life, died. Because of this, she was highly suspicious when Warlock was put into a coma during battle and remained by his side.
Of course, then Warlock fell for another woman, whom Gamora planned to simply and logically kill to get out of the way! Luckily for Maya, Gamora finally decided that it was not the best idea after all, which turned out to be the right decision, given that the woman ended up marrying someone else anyway.
Tony Stark is a known "ladies' man," but when Gamora had a one night stand with him (if you can even call it that; it was much less than a night!), she may have put him in his place. When she tells him he's going to have to do better as he flirts with her and he says with his trademark swagger, "I can do better," you can tell he's thinking it's going to be one of his normal hookups. Not so, as you can see in the next panel!
First we're meant to think he's just bewildered because she rocked his world, but then we see that he's actually in pain while she looks around, seemingly bored. Finally she tells him she's going back to the bar. After she's left, he finally says, "Ow," with a grimace on his face.
Painful sex is nothing to laugh at, and it's not funny if Tony's in pain. In fact, had the roles been reversed people would be quite upset that he'd hurt her. That said, it is nice to see Iron Man's partner leaving the bed early for once instead of his usual modus operandi.
Gamora suffered from a bit of Stockholm Syndrome when it came to her father figure, Thanos, but it wasn't even just that. Thanos ensured that his little weapon would always be on his side by altering her perception, rendering her incapable of knowing the evilness of her adopted parent. It's one thing to be evil to the core but think that you are in the right; it's another entirely to know full well how bad you are to the point where you brainwash your own kid to make her think you're one of the good guys.
There is a popular panel where Thanos gives her a rare gift during Yule (Christmastime). The innocent baby doll is probably one of the few moments of normalcy in young Gamora's life. Of course, she later used the doll as a weapon when, at age five, she hurled it at a would-be assassin of Thanos, hitting him in the eye-- not only sparing Thanos but allowing him to destroy his attacker as well.
Although Thanos developed reluctant paternal feelings toward his young charge, he resented and denied them, believing them to be a waste and weakness.
What do you expect when he kidnapped her from her own parents, proved to be one of the most evil villains in the universe, and even admitted to vivisecting his own mother? Sure, Thanos killed Gamora! Adopted daughter or not, she was no more safe from his whims than anyone else in the Marvel universe. When your dad is a sociopath, you pretty much don't put anything past him.
Granted, it was pretty much in self-defense, but Gamora had just learned that her surrogate father was intending to destroy the universe as a sacrifice for Death. Clearly her assassination attempt had more merit than his! Luckily when Thanos killed Gamora, Adam Warlock brought her back to life with his Soul Gem.
Gamora was also apparently murdered by The Magus later in her life, but it wasn't for real. It takes a lot to kill someone as powerful, skillful and ruthless as Gamora.
She-Hulk is a pretty amazing character. Some speculate that she is the most, if not one of, the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe. That said, her strength and fighting prowess hasn't always been enough to help her through a battle alone.
Gamora helped the superhero to prepare for She-Hulk's battle against the Champion of the Universe, but she didn't only train her in combat. She convinced She-Hulk to practice for the battle in human form as Jennifer Walters to ensure that she was ready even without her powers. Akin to the whole "There is one thing you don't know. I am not left-handed!" surprise tactic, the strategy both mentally and physically prepared She-Hulk to win. Obviously, if she were already trained to win in human form, when she transformed into She-Hulk she'd be at a huge advantage, and she was.
Of course, She-Hulk only received brief tutelage from Gamora. Someone else has relied upon her for far more security, leading us to the fact that...
Given their history, you might never guess that Adam Warlock and Gamora are fostering a daughter together, but that is exactly what happened in the case of Atleza.
Atleza is a child, but her predecessor, a being known as Aletz, is over 2000 years old and has served the multiverse, tethering Earth-616's place in the cosmic vortex. He's also done it surrounded by the coffins of his predecessors, which pretty much just sucks. Yes, it's confusing, but you probably recognize the scenario from many different comics, books and other media.
During the Destiny War, Aletza's spot behind Aletz was thrown off track, and suddenly she needed to be protected from the Thanos-like Thanosi who threatened her existence.
With the help of Silver Surfer, Captain Marvel, Moondragon, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man, not only was the young link to all that exists saved, but returned to her job in peace even as a young child. Gamora and Warlock helped Aletza get acquainted with her new role and home, serving as her foster parents.
Earlier we mentioned how Gamora is the sole survivor of her species and how most of us would want to enact revenge on anyone who sentenced us to that lonely fate, right? In her original timeline, The Universal Church of Truth was responsible for wiping out the rest of the Zen Whoberis species. They also took Gamora and tortured her in an attempt to convert her into one of them.
Gamora was not going to let that slide without a fight. In a ferocious battle during which the word "Berserker" completely applied, Gamora did to the Universal Church of Truth what they did to her people. She went one step further and did it before they killed her people using time travel-- because no one is more ruthless than Gamora.
Unfortunately, she still was unable to save her people. The reptilian race known as the Badoon committed genocide on the Zen Whoberis instead.
Like any superhero who comes from the dark side, Gamora has had to prove herself to the Guardians of the Galaxy a few times in order to reassure them that she does mean business (and that she's not infiltrating them just to murder them all in her sleep, which wouldn't be her style anyway).
On one occasion, she was burned from head to toe in order to save the team. During the Dyson Sphere mission, a teleportation plan went wrong and the Guardians were trapped in extreme heat. Gamora went through the heat and re-established their shields so they all could survive, enduring scorching pain and a lengthy recovery period in the process.
Of course, it turned out that she wasn't the untrustworthy one to begin with. During a mission to find the Skrulls, Star-Lord had ordered Mantis to brainwash them into joining the team in the first place. Gamora was so angry that she temporarily left the group.
Anyone who has read the comics or seen the film already knows that Gamora does not mess around, and she has a well-known nickname to prove it. As "The Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy", Gamora is the one person that you don't want to meet in a dark alley-- especially if you're there for nefarious purposes. There isn't just one simple reason why, either. Sure, she's a tough, seasoned assassin who has been well-trained to kill, but she's also a weapons master who can use just about any tool to get the job done. Her own sword is called Godslayer (did we mention hubris earlier?), alluding to her ability to even take out immortal beings.
Her top combat training included every type of martial arts known, making her a master at the skill. Gamora's speed and agility are acute and untouchable, and she is even skilled at gymnastics, making her one of the most flexible assassins. Her accelerated healing factor prevents her from suffering severe harm in many cases, ad her superhuman strength makes her nearly unbeatable in a fight.
In short, she is not only the deadliest woman in the galaxy, but quite possibly the deadliest assassin of all time. It will be interesting to see where writer Nicole Perlman and penciler Marco Checcheto take her story in her new self-titled comic.
Do you have anything to add about Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy? Leave it in the comments!