Marvel's Zoe Saldana Bemoans Franchise Work: 'I’ve Been Just Stuck'

Zoe Saldana Marvel Gamora Avatar
By Russ Milheim Posted:

Zoe Saldana has become a little disenfranchised from working under massive IPs for over a decade now.

Saldana has had quite the history when it comes to partaking in blockbuster franchises; in fact, she's starred in two of the highest-grossing films of all time: Avatar and Avengers: Endgame. On top of those two examples, she's also participated in Star Trek as Uhura.

No doubt that out of all of her previous roles, her time as Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken the most time out of her career. Not even just on-screen either, as every appearance as the green-skinned hero required "five-hour makeup sessions."

Now, Saldana admitted the downside to being a star in some of the most popular movies of the past decade-plus.

Zoe Saldana Feels Stuck in Major Franchises

Zoe Saldana in Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy
Disney

In an interview with Women's Wear Daily, actress Zoe Saldana spoke on how she feels doing all these franchises (Marvel, Star Trek, Avatar) over the last few years.

Saldana admitted that "there was a time where it was so exciting," but now "[it's] just a lot:" 

“There was a time where it was so exciting to seem [like I was] and to know that I was one of the hardest working people... Now I’m actually embarrassed because this whole idea of productivity and overproducing yourself too much is just a lot.”

The actress was candid about how "[she's] felt stuck doing these franchises," though they're still something Saldana feels "very grateful for:"

“I feel that for the last 10 years of my life, I’ve been just stuck. I felt stuck doing these franchises... I’m very grateful for the opportunities that they provided, from collaborating with amazing directors and getting to meet cast members that I consider friends and getting to play a role that fans, especially children, love. But it also meant that I felt artistically stuck in my craft of not being able to expand or grow or challenge myself by playing different sorts of genres and different roles. So this is something that I wanted to do for a very long time. And wrestling, too, with this pressure that society puts on women that your youth is gone as soon as you have children and you go into your 40s."

The Guardians of the Galaxy star went on to note how she's "happy" to be able to "collaborate with filmmakers and producers and people in this industry" that have similar desires as her:

“But today, now that I’m 44, I’ve been able to have these opportunities, and I took control over my aging and I took control over my voice and how I consider myself as a woman. And I’m so happy that I’m able to collaborate with filmmakers and producers and people in this industry that want that for women, that want women to be ageless and who don’t fetishize women’s youth. And so it’s interesting. It’s really interesting.”

When it comes to her new Netflix show From Scratch, Salanda shared how she sees the show as "a beautiful love story that has an unconventional [ending]..."

“You know what I loved — I loved that so many people were so brave to stick through the whole show, even though they knew they were going to just open themselves up and hurt and just find themselves living in that feeling and that sensation of complete sadness and seeing, and they still did it... I really do consider ‘From Scratch’ to be a beautiful love story that has an unconventional [ending].…The ending that’s full of hope and joy and happiness and purpose.”

What's Next for Zoe Saldana In the MCU?

Many actors enjoy being able to take on all kinds of roles in both sizes and types. So it's completely understandable for Zoe Salanda to have felt trapped in only doing the big stuff and not getting to explore more indie-sized projects.

Luckily for Salanda, she may be getting a sizeable break from Marvel fairly soon. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 being a finale of sorts for those characters, Gamora might not be seen for a while after the credits roll.

While director James Gunn might be saying goodbye to the franchise after next year's installment, most of the characters will almost certainly show up again at some point or another. After all, seeing as Gamora already died in Avengers: Infinity War, it would be odd to kill her again so soon.

Assuming Gamora is still alive and kicking, she'll need to show up at some point in either Avengers: The Kang Dynasty or Secret Wars—possibly even in both.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is now streaming on Disney+, while Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5, 2023.