Zoe Saldana's Gamora was featured in several shots of Marvel Studios' tear-jerker of a trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Skilled assassin and daughter of Thanos, Gamora was a key member of the Guardians family - and the love interest of Peter Quill - prior to Thanos sacrificing her for the soul stone. So the question is, how is Gamora back for Vol. 3? And why is she seemingly back with the Guardians?
Gamora's Guardians Vol. 3 Comeback Explained
While Peter Quill and Gamora's feelings for one another are teased in both prior Guardians films, audiences don't see them fully embrace their relationship until Avengers: Infinity War.
Why it takes the two so long to reach that point has to do with their similar, traumatic pasts. Thanos killed Gamora's mother and half the population of her planet before forcibly adopting her, turning her into an assassin.
As for Quill, he was traumatized by the loss of his mother and then kidnapped by Yondu to be raised by the Ravagers. Then, in Vol. 2, he discovers that his real father, Ego, killed his mother and only wanted to use him.
Both have suffered loss and have difficulty with trust.
While they seem to have overcome some of those issues in Infinity War, it's also in this same film that Thanos takes Gamora and sacrifices her on Vormir.
Therefore, this version of Gamora, with all of her history with the Guardians and Peter, is killed; and, once again, Peter has suffered a huge loss.
However, in Avengers: Endgame, the Avengers' use of time travel, which also involved Nebula, allows Thanos and Gamora from 2014 to discover the MCU present.
Thanos then uses both past and present Nebulas to allow himself and Gamora to travel to 2023, the present-day MCU.
Even though this Gamora doesn't have the same experiences as her Infinity War self, she does turn against Thanos and learn of her alternate life with the Guardians and Peter.
After helping the Avengers in that final Endgame battle, she disappears by the end of the film.
This is why she's not in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special but is able to return in Vol. 3.
Gamora's Role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
From what fans know of Vol. 3, the Guardians will be threatened by the sociopathic High Evolutionary and likely the Sovereign from Vol. 2.
Since both are obsessed with perfection and superiority, a clash with the misfit Guardians makes sense, especially since Rocket appears to be one of the High Evolutionary's past projects.
Given that Gamora and her sister Nebula were cybernetically enhanced by Thanos, she too may be on a collision course with these villains, leading to a team-up with the Guardians.
The latest Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer offered a small glimpse at her role, including her helping an injured Drax in what appears to be a prison escape.
But perhaps the most interesting shot is Gamora in what appears to be a three-point landing pose, otherwise known as a hero pose.
In most MCU films, a character landing in this position is a visual confirmation that they're now a hero.
But the real reason behind her role is that Vol. 3 is James Gunn's final bow within the MCU and the conclusion of his Guardians trilogy.
Not only is it right that Saldana plays a part in this final chapter, but her character's arc - as well as that of Peter Quill's - is still incomplete. Again, the 2014 Gamora that's now at large in the MCU has never experienced family or a relationship with Peter.
As for Peter himself, he has - yet again - lost who he loves most; and while he's carrying on with the Guardians in the Disney+ special, something is still missing.
Where Will Vol. 3 Leave Star-Lord & Gamora?
James Gunn, the threequel's trailer, and even Zoe Saldana herself have warned audiences that this final film is going to be emotional and that not everyone will survive.
Whether Peter and Gamora's story ends in yet another loss remains to be seen; but if not, the two will likely have to deal with the loss of other Guardians at some point.
Footage of Gamora in the trailer, including that hero pose, suggest that this 2014 Gamora may undergo her own hero origin story in addition to coming to terms with old wounds.
As always, it will be interesting to see how Gunn will incorporate this version of the character into the Guardians' last stand as he brings this beloved franchise to a close.
But even though much of the film - and Gamora's story - remains a mystery, it's sure to be more powerful, heartfelt, and poignant than audiences expect.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arrives in theaters on May 5, 2023.