Becoming one of the only characters to, in a sense, truly die in Infinity War, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) as fans grew to know her in the first two Guardians films was thrown to her death by Thanos in exchange for the soul stone.
However, Gamora almost met a similar fate prior to the MCU's third Avengers film.
Gamora Almost Killed Off Pre-Infinity War
Gunn explained that he knew Zoe Saldana's time as Gamora was limited, "so [he] was going to have [Gamora] die:"
"So things always change and you never know. But Gamora almost died in 'Vol. 2.' 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 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3']. And so I was going to have her die."
Before ultimately deciding that Yondu's death would be a catalyst for Peter Quill's character development in the sequel, Gunn "thought she was the one that was going to sacrifice herself:"
"I thought she was the one that was going to sacrifice herself, and Quill was going to learn about himself as opposed to Yondu in the second movie, and I thought different of it."
Gunn was eventually "talked out of it by Kevin [Feige] and Lou [D'Esposito]," deciding that Yondu's death was "correct for the story:"
"I was kind of talked out of it by Kevin [Feige] and Lou [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."
Gunn also admitted that he was anxious about "killing Michael Rooker because he's [Gunn's] friend:"
"I think at the time I was afraid of killing Michael Rooker because he's my friend."
How Gamora's Early Death Might Have Impacted the MCU?
Given that Gamora's Avengers: Infinity War death was a crucial plot element in Thanos' collection of the Infinity Stones, much would have needed to change if the character had been killed off sooner.
Not only would the story around how Thanos acquires the Soul Stone be changed drastically, but Peter Quill would also likely not have had the motivation to "lose his temper" at Thanos in the way he did, potentially letting the team stop him before the snap.
Additionally, if Yondu had lived, would he have become an official member of the Guardians team? Maybe he could have still instigated the reuniting of his old team, in a similar way to how his death brought them back together.
Or, he and Kraglin could have stuck with the Ravagers, with his paternal relationship with Quill never being explored as fully as it ultimately was.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on Friday, May 5.