Warning: MAJOR spoilers ahead for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2! Don't read any further if you haven't seen James Gunn's latest Marvel Cinematic Universe adventure!
James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was unique for plenty of reasons. It featured an odd, cosmic setting, it starred a cast of ridiculously colorful characters and (perhaps most importantly) it featured the death of a major, fan-favorite character when Yondu sacrificed himself to save Chris Pratt's Star-Lord. That loss had a massive impact on fans all over the world, and Yondu actor Michael Rooker recently sat down with CinemaBlend at San Diego Comic-Con to explain that his on-screen demise has an authentic weight for him, because grief is part of real life. Rooker explained:
Whenever there is a death, it's not happy. I dunno if it could be happy. It's not just melancholy, this is like big time grief going on. People who are the survivors of that are left [reeling]. The grief lasts forever, it never really goes away. You just learn to cope with it in life.
As one of the first truly significant deaths in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Yondu's passing has sparked a massive debate among fans. Is it happy, or is it sad? Even a Guardians insider like Sean Gunn has asserted that his choice to die and save Peter doesn't necessarily read as a somber moment, but as a moment of triumph because he teaches a valuable lesson to Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and brings the team together. However, Michael Rooker doesn't necessarily see it that way, noting that death (in any of its forms) carries a weight to it that cannot be ignored -- even if the dramatic payoff of that death eventually feels worth it in the end. He is going to mourn Yondu for quite some time, just like the rest of us.
Check out a clip from our interview with Michael Rooker below to see what he specifically had to say about the death of Yondu.
We just hope that Peter Quill and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy manage to get most of that mourning and grieving out of the way before they find themselves called into action for their most important (and potentially deadly) mission yet. The first teaser trailer for The Avengers: Infinity War revealed that the Guardians will eventually encounter Thor Odinson floating in space (seemingly sometime after Thor: Ragnarok), and that meeting will lead them to Earth to fight Thanos (Josh Brolin) and the Black Order alongside the rest of the Avengers roster. Yondu's untimely demise will undoubtedly still weigh on all of them, but more important matters are just over the horizon.
The Guardians of the Galaxy will join the rest of Earth's mightiest heroes when The Avengers: Infinity War blasts its way into theaters next year on May 4, 2018. If you're looking for more information on the next Avengers film, here's everything that we currently know about the upcoming Marvel epic!