In case you missed it, Zoe Saldana is the biggest star in the galaxy. No. really. The Afro-Dominican Puerto Rican actress is more than just a big name in Hollywood, these days she’s become the ultimate weapon that envigorates movie fandoms, launches movie box-office hits and sends them soaring through charts.
Currently, Saldana is the star of not one, but two of the world’s highest grossing films of all time.
For twelve years, directors and production studios struggled in their effort to recreate the success that James Cameron had with “Titanic” in 1997, a film that quickly became the highest grossing film of all time after its release. In fact, so did James Cameron. In 2003 he returned to the site of the Titanic to create “Ghosts of the Abyss” a documentary about the sunken ship and followed it up with two other projects. All three never managed to repeat the earnings of “Titanic.” Then in 2009, he premiered “Avatar” the epic science fiction drama that gambled on Saldana’s star power and talent and instantly bolstered to success. Against a $237 million budget, it gained $2.788 billion. Today the film still holds the slot of highest grossing film of all time.
In the years since Saldana’s appearance as an alien in blue, the Afro-Latina has duplicated her success for production studios across Hollywood. The same year that “Avatar” came out, the actress stepped into the role of Nyota Uhura in Star Trek and seven years later, in 2014, she nailed down yet another role in the sci-fi franchise “Guardians of the Galaxy.” This film was crucial to the success of “Avengers: Infinity War’s” recent release.
Zaldana did not take on the leading credits of the film, but you can bet she’s the ingredient that made it score the highest worldwide opening weekend ever.
CREDIT: “Avengers: Infinity War” / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Gamora, who Zaldana plays in the Marvel universe, was never an original Avenger, so it’s not a complete surprise that she doesn’t take on a bigger role against the likes of the, ahem, five white characters who are top-billed (#HelpSaveHollywoodFromItself). I won’t spoil what fate/ Marvel has in store for Gamora in the film, for those of you who have yet to see it, BUT I will say that if it wasn’t for Saldana the film wouldn’t be ripping through box office charts at the rate that it is or currently threatening to dethrone Cameron’s “Avatar” the way that it is now. This weekend the film made $630 million worldwide. That’s because Saldana’s role as the butt-kicking alien has done wonders to opening up the geek universe to women of color.
For Latinas watching, Saldana is an absolute sight for sore eyes.
CREDIT: “Star Trek Into Darkness” / Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Of course, there’s no doubting the fact that Black and Brown girls around the globe have had wonderful role models on screen to look up to. Long before Saldana lit up screens as Gamora and Neytiri we had actresses like Nichelle Nichols and Rita Moreno doing the impossible for women like our mothers, abuelas, and tías. We’ve also been blessed with the dynamic roles of Gina Torres. Still, it isn’t every day that a young girl, let alone one of color, gets to see a woman that looks like her kick ass, take names and rule box office screens. No, that is a feat that has only ever been done by Saldana herself.
The success of her roles amongst fans haven’t just made Saldana a dependable actress for studios to bank on, but a favorite amongst science fiction nerds the world over. Nearly 40 years after Sigourney Weaver became known as the Sci-Fi queen for her roles in the Alien franchise, Zaldana’s appearances have motivated fans to pass her the crown.
This Thursday, Saldana made another giant step for Latinakind.
CREDIT: HOLLYWOOD, CA – MAY 03: Honoree Zoe Saldana at the Zoe Saldana Walk Of Fame Star Ceremony on May 3, 2018 in Hollywood, California. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney
On Thursday, the actress joined the ranks of 15 other famous Latina performers to earn a star on the two thousand plus stars that make up the Hollywood walk of fame. Now if that’s not Latina power shooting through the atmosphere and burning up the Galaxy I don’t know what is.