Zoe Saldana is the latest Marvel actor to be immortalized with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Saldana’s ceremony took place on May 3rd. Speaking at the event, she looked back at her journey to stardom.
“Having a dream is just step one,” she said. “Step two: sleeves up, hard work, persistence, passion, perseverance. Fail often and fail forward. If at first, you don’t succeed, you dust yourself off and you try again. I learned to love what I do and do what I love and that has been my mantra. From Burger King commercials to Law and Order episodic, to a ballet movie. I got to be a pirate, an INS officer, a xenolinguist on the Enterprise. I got to be an alien warrior – well, multiple alien warriors.”
As referenced in her speech, Saldana has become an icon of modern science fiction cinema thanks to her roles as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, Lt. Nyota Uhura in Star Trek, and Neytiri in Avatar. In a pre-ceremony interview with Variety, Saldana spoke with pride about her work in the genre.
“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,” Saldana said. “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.”
Cameron was at the Walk of Fame event to speak on Saldana’s behalf. He also praised the actresses’ sci-fi roles.
“Zoe pretty much owns outer space,” Cameron said. “I may be king of the world, but she is queen of the universe. Her iconic characters – Uhura, Neytiri, Gamora – are role models for young women. These are women of courage and integrity, women who are unbound and authentic, women who stand for something.”
Saldana can be seen as Gamora in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, which is now playing in theaters. She is expected to return as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020. She is also expected to return as Uhura in the next Star Trek movie, which just found its director, and to star in Cameron’s four upcoming sequels to Avatar.