Is Gamora really dead at the end of Infinity War? Burning questions about Avengers that have answers in the comics
Without a hint of weakness, Thanos fulfilled his destiny, sacrificed a beloved life, secured the Soul Stone in his Infinity Gauntlet and left fans with a million questions.
Even before we get into the cosmic turn of events that unfolded over the weekend - an Infinity War went down in the Marvel cinematic universe - let's take a moment to acknowledge the spectacle that Marvel created for our viewing pleasure.
The third instalment of the Avengers saga was not only a satisfying cinematic experience but also an important edition that, quite admirably and (one might say) even dramatically, paved the path for the final chapter in MCU's phase III, that is the upcoming sequel to the Avengers: Infinity War.
One of the best characteristics of the latest Marvel blockbuster, directed by filmmaker brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, is undoubtedly the segmentation of the two-part Avengers story. If you happen to be a fan, closely following the building up of the shared, intergalactic Marvel universe, it's highly likely that you had figured out the course of the events by the time the first half of the movie was over - which is that Infinity War part I was going to be the anti-hero's story.
By anti-hero, we are of course referring to the mad titan Thanos, whose enigmatic conduct throughout the film turned out to be the greatest source of intrigue. It's difficult to label Thanos, put him in a box; he is one of those characters whose moral compass do not lean heavily on either side. In fact, if anything, his argument behind finding the six Infinity Stones and wielding their power to balance the ratio of living and dead in the universe, even begins to make sense — except for the fact that he is uncompassionate in his approach and almost ruthless in the way he sacrifices his most beloved soul.
Yes, soul! This is where we advise you to quit reading in case you are procrastinating and are yet to watch Avengers: Infinity War - this article is full of spoilers!
In the build-up to the Infinity War, if there's one thing that has continued to be at the front and center of all action - it is Thanos' quest for the all-powerful Infinity Stones, particularly the Soul Stone, whose whereabouts was hitherto unknown. It is ultimately on the planet called Vormir, where it transpires that the precious gem was kept under the watchful eyes of, none other than Red Skull and where Thanos is guided to by step-daughter Gamora.
For the uninitiated, Red Skull ( played by Hugo Weaving in 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger), serves as the keeper of the stone, only this time it's portrayed by actor Ross Marquand of The Walking Dead fame. As a punishment to his previous conquest of the stones, namely the Tesseract that is ultimately revealed to be the Space Stone, Red Skull, explains that he has been banished to the planet to serve as a guide to whoever seeks the gem. While it's his curse to be on the planet, the previously-antagonistic character, himself, can't wield the powers.
Cut to Thanos, who by the time has already obtained the Power, Space, and Reality Stones; and is now faced with the greatest dilemma as he is informed by Red Skull that in order to acquire the mystic Soul Stone he has to sacrifice that which he loves the most.
“A soul for a soul,” the stone keeper says and in this anti-climatic moment, the giant of a villain breaks down with tears rolling down his face, which Gamora mistakens to be signs of failure.
"You kill and torture and you call it mercy. The universe has judged you. You asked it for a prize and it told you no. You failed. And do you wanna know why? Because you love nothing. No one!" the gatekeeper of the Galaxy exclaimed. Her sense of victory, however, soon turned out to be futile with Thanos mustering some steely guts and dragging the only person he loved, his daughter, to the pit of death.
Without a hint of weakness, Thanos fulfilled his destiny, sacrificed Gamora's life, secured the Soul Stone in his Infinity gauntlet and left fans with a million questions. And at the top of the list was - "Is Gamora dead for real?" Well, the way Russo brothers mercilessly dealt with the plot until now - killing off prime characters like Loki, Heimdall and so on — it felt pretty real, except that Gamora's death will make Guardians of the Galaxy vol III quite difficult, as will the death of the range of integral Marvel heroes.
From Black Panther to Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Vision, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy including Star-Lord, Groot, Drax and Mantis - half of the superhero population in MCU is swiped off by the end of the movie with a single snap of Thanos' Infinity gauntlet-clad fingers.
As real and emotional the moment seemed - especially when Nick Fury along with Maria Hill perished — it is quite impossible for MCU to survive with a vast majority of its characters dead. This brings us to the most heart-wrenching sacrifice, that of Gamora, and a particularly out-of-the-blue scene, where a young version of the character is seen reunited with Thanos - even after we are shown that the mad titan kills his own daughter.
What is this place? Is it a flashback scene? Why a child Gamora is talking to the undefeated titan? These are, possibly, the burning questions that are begging for answers and one way or another, they take us back to the comic book history.
Now, it's no news that Marvel's Infinity War series is heavily-inspired by the Infinity Gauntlet comics by Ji Starlin. And in the comics, the Soul Gem (it's stone only in the cinematic universe) is supposed to carry within itself a pocket dimension called the Soulworld. In lucid terms, gaining the orange-colored Soul Stone appears to have captured Gamora's soul in the peaceful, tranquil dimension of the gem, which is briefly visited by Thanos right before he snaps his fingers and destroys half of the life on the universe.
The orangish hue of this mysterious world and the portrayal of a young Gamora further reinstates the comic book reference, which describes the Soulworld as this happy place, a paradise of sorts. Perhaps, this is the reason the love interest of the Star Lord appears as a child in the scene, at an age, she was the happiest.
While this somewhat explains the galaxy-trotting superheroine's present, her fate in the aftermath of the Infinity War still remains uncertain and little clues that can be drawn from the comics should definitely be taken with a grain of salt. According to the books, Gamora is temporarily erased from the real world, however, when Nebula takes over the stone-wielding gauntlet from their father, she is able to bring her sister back to life.
Although given the amount of alteration Marvel bosses have made in the cinematic universe, it's very well possible that this might not be the ultimate fashion or order for the consequent events in the upcoming instalment, Avengers 4. But then again, Nebula is alive as we speak and vengeful.
Suddenly, as Gamora and her fate assume such an integral spot in the MCU, it's to be understood that her apparent death is tied to the destiny of a bunch of other characters. An allusion to the Soulworld in the ending scenes, in fact, even fuels hope that there might be a way to bring Earth's mightiest heroes along with the Galaxy troopers back to life.
There is no doubt to Thanos' might, it's well established that Avengers: Infinity War concludes with the anti-hero's grand win; but where's divine justice in that? MCU certainly cannot lose its best superheroes and fans their favorite characters.
They are gone, but for the time being or should we say until Avengers 4.