Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Has the Chance to Fix Marvel’s Most Glaring Sin

MCU romances are rarely built on a strong foundation. Starlord and Gamora could be the exception.

Zoe Saldaña as Gamora and Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel Studios

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe isn’t particularly known for its romance. While the franchise makes a point of casting charismatic (and aesthetically pleasing) actors, it’s not exactly a chemistry factory. But romance is still more or less inevitable — even in the sexless world of the MCU — and certain films do try to fold it in where applicable.

The Guardians of the Galaxy films prioritize dysfunctional familial dynamics over romantic and sexual love, but Star-Lord’s (Chris Pratt) relationship with fellow guardian Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) is still one of the few exceptions to the rule. Their slow-burn was one of the more nuanced, “adult” romances in the MCU: despite Quill’s eager pursuit of Gamora, it was clear that they both had major trauma to reconcile before either could pursue a relationship. In the hands of writer-director James Gunn, it could have been one of Marvel’s strongest love stories — but with multiple writers contributing to their evolving story, it fell off the rails in a major way.

Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) cozies up to Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Marvel Studios

Despite no precedent for romance in the comics, Guardians of the Galaxy laid out the beginnings of an intriguing “will they, won’t they” between Star-Lord and Gamora. Though Gamora eventually acknowledged their “unspoken thing” in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Gunn seemed content to take things slow. Star-Lord was reeling from the revelation that his father, Ego (Kurt Russell), was a genocidal deity and grieving the loss of his surrogate dad, Yondu (Michael Rooker), at the same time. Gamora had also been struggling to patch things up with her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). Perhaps most importantly though, she’d dedicated her life to defeating adoptive father Thanos (Josh Brolin). Star-Lord and Gamora’s chemistry was difficult to ignore, but Gunn was wise to keep his focus on the main conflict.

Unfortunately, he wouldn’t be the only creative force behind the Guardians’ development. Avengers: Infinity War, released just a year after Vol. 2, staked a huge portion of the conflict on Star-Lord’s love for Gamora. Not only are the two official in Infinity War, but they’re also comfortable exchanging “I love you’s”. Star-Lord even swears on his dead mother when making a promise to Gamora. Vol. 2 and Infinity War are separated by a substantial time jump, but that’s still quite the leap from their hesitant beginnings in the Guardians films.

Gamora returns in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but she won’t be the same.

Marvel Studios

Avengers: Endgame offered a blank slate for the characters, albeit with a twist: Gamora eventually returns, but as a time displaced variant. This Gamora has no memories of her relationship with Star-Lord or her time with the Guardians, so she doesn’t have much loyalty to the team — but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. has the opportunity to change that.

The Inverse Analysis — The Guardians films never got the chance to tell a proper love story with Star-Lord and Gamora. While the Gamora that everyone knew and loved is gone, it’s likely that Star-Lord will woo her just as he did before — hopefully in the least-creepy way possible. Obviously, pulling off what is essentially The Vow in space is going to be tricky. Who’s to say that this Gamora will be even remotely into Star-Lord — or that Star-Lord will be into her? Things between these crazy kids will be very, very complicated either way, but stranger things have certainly happened.

Guardiand of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5.

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