One of the most heart churning moments in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 revolves around the lively Yondu, and there's only one way Gunn would allow him back on the screen.
Spoilers incoming for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, so if you haven't watched it yet you've been warned.
Gunn isn't one to hold his tongue, especially when it comes to his Guardians of the Galaxy characters. That personal investment was expertly conveyed through the screen when during Yondu's sacrifice to save Star-Lord, as well as the sweet funeral scene the crew has for their friend and father figure.
You probably won't be surprised to hear that Gunn has been asked numerous times to bring the character back somehow, and while he sympathizes, there is only way Yondu will make a return.
"Although it is always possible to see Yondu in flashback or prequel, I personally will never bring him back to life in present time because it would nullify his sacrifice and the love from father to son that affects me so much personally as well as others all around the world. One of the reasons that Yondu is the most popular character from the second film is BECAUSE of this sacrifice, and the idea of bringing him back in Vol. 3 or 4 or on the Yondu Netflix series because he sells a lot of Funko Pops horrifies and sickens me. Like I said, I hate it. And I'll never do it," Gunn said.
Well then, that pretty much sums that up doesn't it.
This conversation started regarding the handling (or mishandling as it were) of death in movies, comics, and TV.
"Characters constantly dying & being brought back in comics, movies & TV makes it so that death/danger has no weight in all story - I hate it," Gunn said.
Gunn realizes there are exceptions to hard rules on death, but when those become the norm that becomes a problem.
"I also mentioned that there are exceptions to most rules, and sometimes story structure doesn't need to take place in one film - for instance, sometimes a reveal can happen later that was planned all along, and sometimes that reveal will work. The word "constantly" in my original tweet was important - if characters were occasionally revived in interesting ways that didn't diminish the original death but actually improved the overall story, I wouldn't care," Gunn said.
Hit the next slide to see why the "Groot" argument doesn't hold up.
Some fans questioned his stance on Yondu (and death in general) by bringing up the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
In that film, Groot sacrifices himself to save the other Guardians by forming a protective barrier around them. Rocket Raccoon manages to save a piece of him and plants it, leading to the reveal of Baby Groot in the final scene. Some say that his standards of death in film is undercut by that approach, but Gunn has an explanation for that.
"I also mentioned to folks who didn't understand the original tweet and who didn't read the follow-up tweet, and who kept throwing the Groot revival in my face, that that example doesn't really work because Groot is dead.
Although I don't necessarily think it's obvious in Vol. 1, it's important to say that if you exploded and a little glob of you started growing into a baby, I would not assume that baby was you," Gunn said.
Gunn is right that it isn't really clear in the original that this Groot is truly different than the first version, other than his love of dancing. Vol. 2, however, focuses on some of those differences.
"I do think it's more obvious in Vol. 2, as Baby Groot has a different personality than Groot, none of his memories, and is much, much dumber," Gunn said.
Umm, we don't say mean things about Groot man. It's in the newsletter and everything.
Gunn capped this part of the conversation off with a brand new term, Grootsplaining.
"And of course, even though I've said all this dozens of times before, this is what the thread largely became about, with people Grootsplaining why I was wrong and why characters I created for the screen aren't what I think they are. Sorry, guys, it doesn't work that way. Groot's sacrifice, too, had weight and truth to it," Gunn said.
Hit the next slide to see why he feels so strongly about this subject.
Gunn addressed some of the criticisms he received about his take on death in film, specifically the ones that brought up characters like Groot, Deadpool, and yes, Jesus Christ.
"I explained in a follow-up tweet that I wasn't talking about what happened in the story structure itself," Gunn said. "This isn't about resurrection myths (like Groot or Jesus) or about fun, fake out deaths like what happens with Deadpool. What bothers me is when a character is given a beautiful or powerful death in popular culture, that fulfills a character arc... and then is brought back in a sequel or comic or later episode through some usually ridiculous means because, you know, he or she is popular."
His critique isn't limited to movies, and he even specifically calls out comics for dipping in that pool much too often. His point can't really be argued there, as death in comics has become something of a joke in recent years.
"This has become so commonplace in TV, movies, and (especially) comics that any significant death, at least in franchises, loses its emotional impact. And, by extension, all death and danger lose their power in these stories. If One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest became One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 2, 3, and 4, and in every sequel Randall Patrick MacMurphy was brought back by some cutting-edge medical procedure at the beginning of the movie and euthanized by another patient finding redemption at the end - well, that story would kind of lose its effect. And even the initial Cuckoo's Nest might cease to be one of my favorite all-time films," Gunn said.
He isn't wrong, and there are many cases of a character coming back simply because they are so popular. It doesn't mean you can't have any resurrections or returns, but they should be limited to special occasions. When Uncle Ben is the only character in the Marvel mythos for example that has actually stayed dead over the years, you just might have an issue.
It's an interesting discussion and one that will probably continue on for a good long time.