[SPOILERS for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ahead.]
Sean Gunn tells fans not to feel sad over the ending of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, despite the tragic death of Yondu (Michael Rooker). The actor who plays Kraglin and also stands in for the computer-animated Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) in the Marvel franchise, is also the brother of series writer/director James Gunn.
Despite Guardians 2 continuing the mostly jolly vibe that its successful predecessor established, it also brought out arguably one of the most heartbreaking deaths in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), who has long been searching for his father, Ego (Kurt Russel), reunited with him only to find out that he is not the ideal dad that he is looking for. He eventually realizes that his mentor/guardian, Yondu, was the one who has been there with him along, when the former Ravager leader sacrifices himself to save Peter. The film ended in what we could only imagine as a beautiful but gloomy cosmic burial - one that left even the eternal sassy Rocket in tears.
In a conversation with Cinemablend, Gunn - whose character Kraglin inherited Yondu's Yaka arrow at the end of Vol. 2 - said that people should not view the final moments of Guardians 2 as sorrowful. Instead, we should look at in a way that despite the significant loss that the Guardians suffered, all of them learned something from it that will only help them grow, moving forward:
"Well, it's interesting. I think that while it may have seemed melancholic, it's certainly sad with how it ends from Yondu's perspective, but I think that the principal arc of the movie as a whole is the idea that the Guardians are a family, and they're a family that's trying to lear how to stay together and to be a family. And from that perspective, it's actually a very happy ending because they are all together at the end of the movie. Yes it's Yondu's death that brings them together, but they're all there, and Rocket in particular has to learn that he's not alone. I think that even though he finds the friends in the first movie, it's pretty clear that Rocket still feels alone for most of the second movie, and that's why end on his face, is that I think that he's learned to be more of a family member to everyone. So from that point of view, I think there's an uplifting element of it, even though it's sad because of the death."
One expects that Yondu's death will serve to further motivate the Guardians to do better from hereon out, especially in the cases of Peter and Rocket (who had an intense and personal back and forth with the Centaurian in Guardians 2). Although Marvel Cinematic Universe films have drawn flak over the years for their decoy deaths, Yondu's seems pretty definitive. James Gunn has even admitted that part of him didn't want to sign on for the third installment in the Guardians franchise because Rooker can no longer be a part of it. However, that is not to say that we can't see blue alien pop up via during flashbacks, should the narratives for future MCU films call for it.
The twist at the end definitely brought the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 core theme of family home, with Yondu sacrificing his life for Peter, even though they are not blood relatives. It makes the film more relatable and grounded, despite the fact that it also deals with extra-terrestrials and other science-fictional concepts.
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