How The Sci-Fi Genre Helped Zoe Saldana Avoid Stereotypical Movie Roles

Zoe Saldana

There is arguably no person who has their hands in more huge sci-fi franchises at the moment than Zoe Saldana. The actress plays Uhura in the new Star Trek franchise, she was Neytiri in the biggest film in history, Avatar, and she is currently starring as Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's record-breaking achievement, Avengers: Infinity War. All she needs at this point is a role in one of the many upcoming Star Wars films and she'll be made in the shade. Zoe Saldana actually feels quite at home in the science fiction genre, as it has helped her to avoid stereotypical roles that she might have found herself in otherwise, as she explained:

Science fiction is a universe where a person like me who is unimaginable is imaginable by so many filmmakers like J.J. Abrams and James Cameron and James Gunn. I got to really flourish in this genre. I got to be brave and I got to be strong and I got to play characters that weren't only the daughter, the wife, the girlfriend. I was a warrior and I was relevant to the storyline, and I'm very proud of the path that I've chosen for myself by avoiding falling into stereotypical boxes.

On the road to stardom, Zoe Saldana turned down roles that she saw as typecasting, so you can see how the science fiction genre gave her an opportunity to do different things than plain dramas or comedies might afford her. Instead of being a down-on-her-luck Latina in every film, science fiction opens up a whole universe of possibilities to play with. As she told Variety, the science fiction genre allowed her to stretch her creative legs by playing characters who mattered, had agency and were heroes important to the story versus just being generic archetypes and forgettable supporting characters. She seems quite happy with the path her career has followed, and given the success of franchises she has been in, it is hard to argue with that. Plus, it has to be cool to play aliens, assassins and other characters who have been memorable, important and interesting in these imaginative and expansive worlds.

Some might say that Zoe Saldana has now been typecast as the actress who plays different colored alien characters, but just like Keira Knightley and period pieces, everyone has their thing. Zoe Saldana's characters have also all been very different beyond their outward alien-ness. Her Gamora is fierce and vulnerable, Neytiri is wise and brave, and Uhura is funny and caring. Zoe Saldana is on her way and may already be one of the iconic science fiction actresses alongside the likes of Linda Hamilton, Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Fisher, and the genre is lucky to have her.

Zoe Saldana's science fiction dominance won't be ending anytime soon either. She is currently filming Avatar 2 and 3 with sci-fi luminary James Cameron. The visionary director is aiming for lightning to strike four more times with his Godfather-esque saga of films set in the world of Pandora, a world that Zoe Saldana's Neytiri is an integral part of. As of right now, Avatar 2 is scheduled to arrive in theaters on December 18th 2020. For movies hitting theaters a little bit sooner, check out our release schedule, and go see Zoe Saldana's Gamora again in Avengers: Infinity War, playing in theaters now.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.