Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is stuffed to the brim with emotional moments, but one of the most painful is one that personally affected director James Gunn.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.]
Toward the end of the movie, when Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and the rest of the Guardians are engaged in a climactic battle with Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell), Yondu (Michael Rooker), the ravager that kidnapped Star-Lord and kept him as an employee on his ship for years, comes to the leader’s rescue. Strapping the last spacesuit exoskeleton to Star-Lord’s body and using the remaining jetpack fuel to rocket them off the exploding planet, Yondu sacrifices himself for the man who he had come to love like a son.
Yondu is one of Gunn’s favorite characters and, more than that, Rooker is one of his best friends. When Gunn decided to kill off Yondu, he didn’t know if he was going to return for the third installment. In a Facebook Live Q&A on Sunday, Gunn said he tried to come up with various ways to save Yondu but nothing made sense.
“It was the hardest choice I've ever had to make from a storytelling perspective to have Yondu die," Gunn said. "I wrote a bunch of treatments where Yondu did not die. There were other endings. He was saved at the last minute after taking the sacrificial stance … and I realized I was being dishonest. That was not what this story was."
Live Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Spoiler Inclusive Q&A with writer/director James Gunn now! Ask a question! Shoot!Posted by James Gunn on Sunday, May 14, 2017
When asked by a fan if there was a chance that Yondu could come back, which isn’t ridiculous considering the genre Guardians of the Galaxy exists in, Gunn was adamant he wouldn’t.
“Yondu is dead. It's sad,” Gunn said. “There could be a prequel Yondu film or a flashback or something like that. Yondu could exist in the past, but he's not going to come back to life, so long as I am involved with Marvel. It's just not going to happen.”
Gunn is returning for the third movie, which he announced earlier this month, but it’ll be the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie without Yondu. When asked what it was like filming the funeral scene, Gunn admitted that Pratt and Rooker spent the majority of their time together trying to make the other laugh. They ended up having to shoot the scene multiple times to get Pratt’s character looking ravaged enough for the moment, pardon the pun.
“I have some very funny video of Chris giving his speech and crying and in the middle of that, Rooker falling asleep,” Gunn said. “He didn't fall asleep once. He feel asleep ten times.”
The rest of the Q&A, which includes Gunn’s reasoning on why Gamora and Star-Lord aren’t together and an explanation of what version of Groot appeared in the post-credits, can be seen in the video above.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is currently playing in theaters.