In Guardians of the Galaxy, we discovered that the person who abducted Star-Lord as a child is a blue-skinned alien named Yondu Udonta who leads a group of space pirates called the Ravagers. Played by Michael Rooker, Yondu was presented as a paternal figure for Star-Lord, as well as an antagonist in Star-Lord’s quest to save the galaxy. Yondu was noted for the red crest on his head and his whistle-controlled arrow. With many rogue-like qualities, Yondu was a bit more of a villain, though he did seem to possess some redeeming qualities. It was announced earlier that Yondu would be given an expanded role in the sequel as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
It could be surprising to many that a selfish space pirate like Yondu could ever have the motivation to become a Guardian, though in the comic books, Yondu is as important to the Guardians of the Galaxy as any other member of the team, even Star-Lord or Rocket Raccoon. When you know the comic book character’s history, it’s not hard at all to imagine Yondu as a full-fledged superhero. Let’s find out what makes Yondu so important to the Guardians by taking a look at 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Yondu.
15. Yondu was supposedly the last of his kind
Looking at Yondu’s blue skin in Guardians of the Galaxy, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Yondu is a Kree. Yondu is actually a member of the Centaurian race, and a native of the planet, Alpha Centauri IV, the first planet to be colonized by humans from Earth. Yondu was a hunter and a member of a mountain tribe that had moved to the plains in order to steer clear of the humans, who the Centaurians perceived as “impure.”
Just like other planets in the galaxy, Alpha Centauri was invaded by an alien race known as the Badoon. With their superior weaponry and technology, the Badoon wiped out the colony, as well as the Centaurians, with Yondu appearing to be the sole survivor of the massacre.
14. Yondu once tried to give his bow to Thor as an offering
The Centaurians are a deeply religious people, and Yondu is no exception. Their chosen deity is the god Anthos, who Yondu regularly prays to. Yondu’s faith is respected by his fellow Guardians, though in their earliest adventures Vance Astro regarded Yondu’s spiritual advice as nothing more than “mumbo jumbo.”
Yondu’s respect for divinity and spirits was illustrated in his first meeting with Thor. When Thor time-traveled to the timeline of the Guardians, Yondu was immediately awestruck by the God of Thunder. After dropping to his knees, Yondu remarked that he could see the spirit of Anthos within him and tried to give Thor his bow as a religious offering, despite the fact that the bow was one of his most sacred possessions. Though touched by the sentiment, Thor declined the offer.
13. Yondu is a founding member of the Guardians of the Galaxy
Long before Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax, and Gamora started calling themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy, there was another team of superheroes who went by that name. They were introduced all the way back in Marvel Super Heroes #18 in 1969. In their first few appearances, the Guardians consisted of only four members: Vance Astro, Charlie-27, Martinex, and Yondu. The story of the Guardians didn’t take place in modern times as the films do, but in the 31st century.
Yondu was on his home planet, Alpha Centauri IV, when he encountered Vance Astro, a human traveler. After becoming Astro’s guide, the two were captured by the Badoon, the evil alien force that had conquered the Earth a few centuries ago. In their escape, they met another pair of heroes, Charlie-27 and Martinex. After leaving the Earth, the four decided to continue their adventures, but vowed to one day return and take the Earth back from the Badoon.
12. Yondu defeated the Thing
We’ve seen what Yondu can do with his Yaka Arrow in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Made out of a sound-sensitive material, Yondu’s Yaka Arrows are controlled by his whistle, which makes accuracy much less important for him than it is for other superhero archers like Hawkeye.
When the Guardians of the Galaxy tried to stop one of their own, Vance Astro, from interacting with his past self, the Guardians were faced with a challenge greater than they expected: Vance Astro had found an ally in the Thing, one of Earth’s strongest heroes. Charlie-27, the Guardians’ powerhouse, was no match for him. Yondu stepped up to fight the Thing and unleashed his Yaka Arrow on him. Knowing that the arrow wouldn’t be effective against the Thing as an offensive weapon, Yondu made the arrow zip all around him until it made him so dizzy that he passed out.
11. Never touch Yondu’s crest
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Yondu sported a much larger crest than he did in the first movie. Though it’s often been referred to as a fin—even by Michael Rooker himself—it’s actually not a fin, as the comic book version of Yondu has personally pointed out to his teammates. It’s a crest, and its Centaurian name is “tahlei.” As for its function, Yondu says it’s improper to discuss things of that nature, but it’s been hinted that it has something to do with a mating ritual.
When Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara) touched the tahlei, he was outraged. As the crest is such an important part of Centaurian culture, touching it is considered a serious offense. If Yellowjacket wasn’t a good friend and a valued member of the team, there’s no telling what Yondu might have done to her…
10. One of Yondu’s religious texts contains a legend about Captain America’s shield
The Guardians of the Galaxy found the Book of Antag, a prized relic of the Centaurian civilization. While the book obviously held great cultural significance to Yondu, its contents held even more significance to Yondu’s fellow Guardian, Vance Astro.
Vance Astro was the only human member of the team, and as a person who had lived through the 20th century, Astro’s boyhood idol was Captain America. So when Yondu told him that a chapter in the Book of Antag was connected to the legend of Captain America, Astro was ecstatic. The book mentioned a shield that gives the one who wields it invulnerability. Though their teammates were skeptical, Yondu and Astro both believed that the book was referring to Captain America’s legendary shield, which was now a thousand years old.
Their only clue to its location was a passage that read: “a machine that walked as a man in the morning and spent the night as the world.” When they finally tracked it down, they found out that the machine referenced in the book was actually the Vision, who was safeguarding the shield for someone worthy of carrying it.
9. Centaurians have a strong mystical connection to nature
As worshippers of Anthos, Centaurians feel deep ties to the land, plants, and animals. They believe that spirits exist all around them in nature. It is for this reason that Yondu never feels more alive than when he’s out in the wilderness.
When the Guardians were on Yondu’s home planet, Yondu was looking for a sign of what he should do when it began to storm. As the rain came pouring down, Yondu felt that the spirits were communicating with him. To him, the rain was nature’s tears, as the spirits were sad about the Centaurians that had been slaughtered by the Badoon.
Yondu’s connection to nature has assisted the Guardians on countless missions. Yondu’s spiritual training has also given him great insight into the animal kingdom, meaning that he’s capable of calming wild beasts.
8. Yondu went crazy when an evil female Centaurian refused to mate with him
Yondu felt a great sadness for many years as he coped with the fact that he was the last surviving Centaurian in the galaxy. That’s why it was such a shock to him when he met Photon, a female Centaurian and a member of Force, a team of space criminals that were the antithesis to the Guardians. Yondu was expected to fight Photon, but he claimed that he couldn’t kill her, as she was the last hope for the Circle of Life for their people.
He felt compelled to mate with her, but to his horror she refused. Yondu was devastated, causing him to become increasingly violent until he finally snapped and attacked his teammates. In Yondu’s own words, Photon had “taken his soul.”
7. Yondu lost his hand
When Yondu almost killed Photon, her leader, Interface, was so furious that he used his abilities of element transmutation to turn Yondu’s hand into water. With his hand gone, Yondu could no longer use his bow. Martinex used the ship’s facilities to give Yondu a “weapons concealment appendage” that gave Yondu access to various weapons, such as swords and axes. It even had a laser he could use for long range fighting. He was able to switch to these weapons by pressing a button that activated its Pym Particle converter.
As a weapons master, Yondu adjusted well without his bow, and make good use of the weapons in his new bionic appendage.
6. Yondu has spiritual empathic powers
Yondu is a Habaktu, making him equal parts warrior and holy man. As a mystic, Yondu can telepathically connect to spirits. When he needs guidance from Anthos, he builds a fire and submerges himself into the spirit world. If Yondu is joined by a teammate, he can show them visions within the flames.
When Aleta Ogord was seriously injured and unresponsive, Yondu connected his mind to hers and went into a place he calls “the void.” While there with her, they were able to communicate with each other. Yondu sensed her emotional distress, helped her through it, and ascended through the void with her. When they emerged, Aleta awakened. Yondu is also able to use his spiritual empathic powers to sense his teammates’ emotions and the motives of a potential enemy or ally.
5. He hates technology
When the Guardians began living together aboard their ship, the Captain America, one of the first things they learned about their teammate Yondu was that he absolutely hated technology and avoided it at all opportunities. Yondu was a man of nature, not a man of the modern world, despite the fact that he lived in the 31st century. Yondu’s disgust for technology caused him to spend most of his time meditating in his room, while leaving the duties of piloting the ship to the other Guardians. He even refused to allow an intercom in his room.
When Yondu lost his hand and had it replaced with a bionic weapon, he had no choice but to at least make due with some aspects of technology. However, he did not completely conform. When he discovered that his new hand came with a built-in laser, he told himself that he would never use that setting again.
4. Yondu discovered a lost tribe of Centaurians
Starhawk, the One-Who-Knows, once told Yondu that he would one day hold great meaning to his people. Yondu was puzzled by the comment, knowing that there were no Centaurians for him to give any meaning to.
Yondu finally understood what Starhawk meant when he received a vision from Anthos that told him to return to his home planet. Yondu teleported to Alpha Centauri IV and found that a tribe of his people had survived the Badoon invasion. When they saw that his costume, a senkah, it immediately marked him as a Habaktu, a holy male warrior. They looked to him for spiritual leadership. Yondu felt at peace as he embraced his new role.
3. Yondu’s dagger created a time anomaly
When Yondu lost his hand, he gave his khacta to Charlie-27. A khacta is a ceremonial dagger made out of the Centaurian mineral, Yaka. Charlie-27 tried to give it back to him later when they parted ways on Alpha Centauri IV, but Yondu insisted that he keep it, though he had no idea the repercussions this decision would have for his people.
When Charlie-27, Nikki, Talon, and Starhawk decided to go back in time to launch a preemptive strike on the Badoon before they could wipe out their worlds, a terrible tragedy occurred. Charlie-27 threw the dagger at an enemy but never retrieved it. The khacta fell into the possession of the Badoon, causing them to discover Yondu’s world long before they were supposed to.
When they returned to their timeline, Yondu’s people were gone and replaced by a new species of Centaurian-Badoon hybrids. Starhawk called this time-travel mistake a “time jolt.” The Guardians had to go back in time and get the khachta before the Badoon could study it.
2. Yondu’s god may actually be Thanos
When Yondu battled Mind-Scan, a telepathic mutant, she used her powers on him to get inside of his thoughts. Within his mind she created a statue of Yondu’s spirit god, Anthos, and forced Yondu to destroy it with one of his Yaka Arrows. Filled with despair, Yondu claimed that the sacrilegious act caused him to forfeit his eternal soul. Mind-Scan then manipulated the pieces of the statue and remolded them into what she said was the true appearance of Anthos.
Yondu was in horror as he looked upon the face of Thanos, the Mad Titan. Though Yondu tried to dismiss it as a lie, he realized that his faith had been shaken. Knowing that he had lost his way, Yondu was about to commit suicide when he was beamed back onto the ship.
Yondu tried to find out if Thanos really had deceived the Centaurians all this time, but unfortunately the Guardians of the Galaxy series was cancelled a few issues later. The plotline, as interesting as it may have been, was never resolved.
1. Marvel Comics now has another Yondu (who looks a lot like Michael Rooker)
Several years ago, Marvel Comics introduced a new Nick Fury, one that looks and acts more like Samuel L. Jackson’s version of the character than the mainstream version. In 2016, Marvel took a similar approach to the character of Yondu. Since 31st century Yondu has very little in common with Michael Rooker’s character, the writers decided to fix this problem in the pages of Star-Lord #1 with the debut of space pirate Yondu. Like the movie version, this Yondu is the leader of the Ravagers.
So how can there be two Yondus? The answer is actually a lot less complicated than what they had to do to explain a second Nick Fury. Since the established version of Yondu exists in an alternate future timeline, all they had to do was have this Yondu be from the mainstream universe. As for his age, the new character is Yondu’s ancestor. Since he exists in the same timeline as Marvel’s most popular heroes, they’ll be more opportunities for him to cross over into other titles than there was with the original Yondu.