Warning: Major spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
We laughed, we danced, and we cried as #JamesGunn's #GaurdiansoftheGalaxy2 took us on another intergalactic bounty hunt and the search for Star-Lord's daddy. Away from #ChrisPratt and Zoe Saldana's Ross/Rachel love affair, an all too cute Baby Groot, and enough post-credits scenes to fill a galaxy, we also got a surprisingly emotional farewell to #MichaelRooker's Yondu.
Rooker's role as the mohawked marauder was quite possibly the best part of Gunn's sequel, and the snaggle-toothed space pirate will be sorely missed. It was hard not to well up as Yondu's body was burned up with Troll Dolls and various other pieces of Earth nostalgia.
For a large portion of the film we genuinely thought that Yondu might "eat" Peter Quill, and there was also his uncomfortable association of dealing in child slavery. Given one of the best redemptive story arcs ever from a #superhero film, Yondu made the ultimate sacrifice to save Pratt's Star-Lord and be the father that Quill never had. However, that divisive ending was something that even Gunn himself battled with and it seems to have left a bitter taste in the director's mouth.
Losing Part Of The Family
Speaking to Uproxx, Gunn revealed that he had tossed and turned over killing Yondu off, before finally settling on the near perfect goodbye that we were left with:
“I didn’t want that to be the ending, and I kind of refused to put that in as the ending for a long time. It wasn’t how the movie ended.”
Rooker then piped in and said, "Well, I didn’t want him to write it either."
Thankfully, the ending was seen as a necessary plot point to not only help Peter let go of his old life and embrace his new family, but to also reunite the "original Guardians — presumably for a future film in the franchise. Rooker, Gunn, and comic book fans will have to accept that death is a sad part of life and Gunn said it was a vital part of the film's climax:
"But, at the end of the day, I knew that’s where it needed to go. I knew that we need to have real stakes in these movies. We need to lose characters. And not everyone who sees Marvel movies loves that.”
It was a jarring contrast to the upbeat dancing to ELO and appearance of David Hasselhoff, but something that didn't feel too forced. The #MCU is frequently called out for being too afraid to kill off its characters. Sure, we did lose Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Quicksilver in Age of Ultron, but as a character that we barely knew, it didn't have the same resonance as losing Rooker.
Looking to the future, Gunn says that he can't imagine making a film without Rooker, who is a close friend. Meanwhile, the 62-year-old Rooker said he struggled to wave goodbye to the role he first portrayed in 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, but he was happy to be the hero:
"The hero of the movie ends up being remembered. And the hero of the movie ends up being, well – you’re the hero of the movie! You know, they’ve done something! They’ve given up something that most of us would not even come close to having the balls to give up in real life, and in the movies as well.”
While most of Guardians may have been the Star-Lord show, Rooker's scenes were arguably more of an emotional rollercoaster. Meeting up with Sylvester Stallone's Starhawk, being mutinied by his own crew, then finally saving the day and putting his past behind him; it was a heartbreaking journey to go on with a character that certainly deserved his expanded role in the sequel.
Gunn closed with the reminder that the whole film was about the search for Quill's father, who although biologically was Kurt Russell's Ego, emotionally it was Yondu:
“The whole movie led to that one moment. It seemed to be calling to me. And that’s what fulfills this true story. This is a story about a father’s love for his son, his ultimate love, so much love that he sacrifices himself for that, and that’s what Yondu is. He is 100 percent Peter Quill’s father. And Ego is 100 percent not his father. Just because Ego is biologically his father, that isn’t who he is.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is soaring away with box office takings and the largely positive praise that is deserves. As we prepare to take some of the team into #InfinityWar, and knowing that the survivors will return for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, there will certainly be a Yondu-shaped hole in the team — that blue bastard sent an arrow straight into our hearts!
Check out Rooker in action as Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy and don't forget our poll below!
Do you think we needed Yondu to die?