Note: This article contains heavy spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Over in the comics, death is something of a revolving door; it's easier to list characters who haven't been dead for a while than it is to list all the superheroes who writers and editors have summarily killed off. In fact, a recent issue of X-Men Gold mocked the trope, with Old Man Logan asking one bad guy if he wasn't supposed to be dead or depowered or something, and then cutting himself off, deciding he didn't really care to hear how the villain got resurrected.
Naturally, comic books fan vaguely assume that the movies will work the same way. And so far, #Marvel at least hasn't done much to dissuade them from that view; to date, the most high-profile death was surely that of Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson, and he was swiftly resurrected to star in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. So it's perhaps understandable that fans approached Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 expecting a certain key death to be reversed post-haste.
Alas, Poor Yondu!
Michael Rooker's Yondu got the ultimate death scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, giving his life to save the kid he'd been like a (snarky, bad-tempered) father to. It then led to the MCU's third major funeral scene, with the Ravagers turning up to mourn Yondu's death in style.
But fans have been fooled too many times before, and within moments of watching the film, the internet was buzzing with resurrection theories. Instagram tweets from Rooker himself didn't exactly help — he shared images of himself in Atlanta earlier this year, wearing a distinctive branded cap from #InfinityWar.
Finally, #JamesGunn himself has been asked about this — and he's revealed that no resurrection is planned. In one of his sporadic Facebook Live posts, Gunn explained:
"Yondu is dead, I think it's very important that there are stakes in this film. I am not into this old school way of doing things where you kill characters, and then you bring them back, and their deaths mean nothing. Yondu is dead. It's sad. I mean there could be a prequel Yondu film or a flashback or something like that so he could exist in the past, but he's not going to come back to life so long as I'm involved with Marvel. These deaths need to have ramifications, these deaths need to be honest, Yondu's death needs to mean something not only in this movie but in other movies.....so he's dead."
It's about as definitive a statement as you can get; not only is Yondu dead, but James Gunn is going to ensure he stays that way. Given it's pretty clear that Gunn is at the forefront of Marvel's set-to-expand cosmic range, I think we can completely rule a resurrection out.
No, don't talk to me about Time Stones or Infinity Gauntlets. As far as James Gunn himself is concerned, dead means dead.
Upping The Ante For Avengers: Infinity War
Next year sees the climax of Phases 1-3 of the MCU, Avengers: Infinity War. Uniting more heroes than you can shake an Official Handbook at, Infinity War will raise the stakes to the highest level we've ever seen in a Marvel movie. After all, Thanos is coming — and he has his sights set on the limitless power of the Infinity Gauntlet! If there's ever a time when dead needs to mean dead in the MCU, it's now.
Yes, I'm aware that the Infinity Gauntlet is the ultimate deus ex machina, allowing death to be rewritten with — literally — a snap of the fingers. Ironically, though, that's all the more reason for Marvel to keep that idea in check; otherwise the film will lose all weight and meaning, and the scale of the threat will be forgotten.
So long as James Gunn is involved with Marvel, Yondu is dead. Given Gunn is also involved in Infinity War, it's very likely he's importing that same philosophy into the film.
Yondu fans, I'm sorry to break it to you, but Yondu is gone. As Gunn notes, that doesn't quite mean we've seen the last of the character; after all, flashbacks aren't exactly uncommon in Marvel movies. Whether Michael Rooker wore an Infinity War cap or not, though, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 still marks the end of his Ravager's journey.
But here's the ominous possibility; with James Gunn's statement, we have to face the reality that Infinity War, too, could bring a close to some of our heroes' stories...
Do you think Marvel should resurrect Yondu?
(Source: Facebook; Poll Image Credit: Marvel Studios)