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Warning: SPOILERS for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are ahead!
While the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie ended on an upbeat note, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 went in a different direction by giving audiences a more melancholic and reflective ending. Sure the mid-credits scenes brightened moods afterwards, but Yondu's death still hung heavy as we bid adieu to the MCU cosmic heroes when they were watching his funeral. However, Sean Gunn, a.k.a. Kraglin, Yondu's former second-in-command, says that Marvel fans shouldn't view Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's ending as entirely sad, but instead as uplifting considering how the protagonists all came together when the sequel concluded. As he put it:
I spoke with Sean Gunn this past weekend at the Portland Heroes & Villains Fan Fest, and when I brought up how Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's ending compared to its 2014 predecessor, Gunn, who also plays Rocket during principal photography, gave the above explanation for why the sequel's ending should be looked at as more of a happy one. Yondu sacrificing himself to save Peter Quill as they were escaping Ego's destruction was certainly sad, especially considering that it was then that Peter understood that the blue-skinned pirate was his "true daddy." But even as Yondu's funeral unfolded and the other Ravager factions come to honor him, there was an air of hopefulness among the Guardians because at that moment, they had finally come together to become a true family.
Rocket, in particular, went through remarkable character growth in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Despite him joining Star-Lord, Gamora and Drax with Groot at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, the sequel showed that he kept himself emotionally distanced from his friends because he was afraid to grow too close to them. Yondu called Rocket out on that, and when the movie ended, you can tell by the look on the genetically-enhanced raccoon's face that he was ready to stop pushing his loved ones away. Following Youndu's demise, the Guardians are closer than ever, and with Mantis now part of the team and Nebula on good terms with them, they're ready to continue their adventures across the MCU.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is still playing in theaters, and the Guardians will return on May 4, 2018 for Avengers: Infinity War.