James Gunn revealed some interesting details about his plans for Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead
The third act of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was emotional to say the least. Peter Quill was forced to destroy his father Ego after discovering his plan to consume the universe. Then he watched as Yondu, the man who had been his true “daddy”, sacrificed himself to save him. This ending definitely struck an emotional chord, and according to James Gunn, it almost didn’t happen.
While speaking with Uproxx, Gunn revealed that he was hesitant to make this Yondu’s fate, but decided that it was necessary to add true stakes to the film:
"“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. 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. They don’t love losing characters. But for the characters to really make a difference, to really make their lives mean something, you need to have these kinds of losses.”"
Later in the interview, he stressed this point again, and stated that it lines up with the film’s focus on fathers and sons:
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"“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.”"
Michael Rooker, who was being interviewed simultaneously, admitted that he initially wasn’t a fan of the ending due to a fear of negative fan responses. However, he eventually warmed up to it, and embraced the role of the hero who sacrifices himself:
"“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.”"
Yondu’s death may be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s hard to disagree with Gunn’s reasoning. One of the biggest criticisms of the MCU is that there’s been a lack of lasting consequences, and this certainly changes that. Although many fans will likely miss Yondu, it’s good to know that Gunn and Rooker made sure that he was given the exit of a hero.