Avatar and Guardians’ Zoe Saldaña Clarifies Comments About Being ‘Stuck’ In Franchise Work

Neytiri in Avatar: The Way of Water and Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy 3
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios/Marvel/Disney)

Without thinking about it, Zoe Saldaña set the internet on fire by remarking she felt stuck working on multiple franchises for years. Saldaña wanted to get some feelings off her chest after dedicating over a decade to major blockbusters. Unbeknownst to her, those innocent remarks received a mixed reaction from the multiple fanbases she is tied to. Some fans backed the actress while others chastised her for complaining about starring in multiple film series. After the firestorm caused by her words, the Avatar: The Way of Water star chose to clarify her comments.

Saldaña cleared the air while at the premiere of James Cameron's sci-fi fantasy blockbuster. The Hollywood A-lister spoke with Deadline about why she chose to address the uproar. She clarified her statements by expressing her gratitude for getting the chance to work with certain directors and actors across each franchise.

I would love to set the record straight. I feel grateful and like the luckiest girl in this town knowing that I was invited to join films with special directors in a special cast. And they resonated with people so much so that we get a chance to come back again and come back another time. If anything, I’ve reaped all the benefits of that, I’ve gained friends. I still have mentors that I call and I lean into.

By working on multiple casts across franchises like Star Trek, Avatar, and Guardians of the Galaxy it allowed Saldaña to create multiple work families in Hollywood. Her remarks weren’t meant as a slight toward those films but more about craving creative outlets beyond established intellectual properties. But she is grateful for playing massive roles in three major Hollywood film series.

The Guardians 3 star loved the work associated with each franchise but felt stifled a bit creatively. The pressure of starring in multiple blockbusters began to show up when Saldaña started building a family. The mom of three revealed she found it harder to balance family life, three franchises, and her creative needs, saying:

But you know, I think that once I started my family, it just became really hard for me to sustain both worlds and also then cater to this curiosity of playing other different characters or playing earthlings you know, but I’m happy in space. I’ve always been happy in space. I relate to people that love space as well.

There you have it. The Hollywood star is completely satisfied starring in multiple Hollywood film series. In recent years, fans have seen the MCU star branch out toward smaller projects as seen in the acclaimed Netflix series From Scratch and David O. Russell’s Amsterdam. While clarifying her stuck comments, Saldaña expressed her gratitude to JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg, as well as James Cameron and James Gunn for seeing something in “a little girl from Queens.” She was even open to those directors calling her “back again and again and again” in the future.

Zoe Saldaña’s franchise work is far from over. Fans will get to see Lt. Uhura once again as Star Trek 4 which is currently in development. Marvel fans will say goodbye to the Guardians when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, arrives in cinemas on May 5, 2023. While it's sad to say goodbye to Gamora, you'll be able to see Saldaña once again in Marvel's upcoming movie GotG Vol. 3, and you can always go back and watch the Marvel movies in order with a Disney+ subscription

As for right now, fans can go see the positively-received Avatar: The Way of Water which hits theaters on December 16. The fantasy film will be followed by Avatar 3 in 2024 with Avatar 4 and 5 in the works.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).