At the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, reformed space pirate Yondu scarified himself to save Peter Quill, unequivocally cementing his paternal feelings towards the arrogant buffoon. It’s been queried whether or not the character will ever return though and it’s now been confirmed by director James Gunn himself that the whistling archer has permanently shuffled off the mortal coil.
The topic came up during one of the fan Q&A sessions Gunn periodically holds on his Instagram. When asked if he would ever bring Yondu back, he stated: “Not to life, no. If a character dies in my films they will likely stay dead. I think stakes are important.”
The wording is curiously specific here. It’s clear that Gunn has no plans to return Yondu to life through means provided by comic book science or magic, but it also suggests that the Ravager could be brought back through flashbacks or prequels, allowing him to be used while also remaining passed on. The “likely” qualifier of characters staying dead is probably Gunn accepting that even though he himself would not resurrect Yondu, this doesn’t preclude somebody else from doing so in the future, as he would have no power to veto such a decision.
Comic books are notorious for having major characters die in emotional situations only for them to be resurrected a few months later and eventually carry on as normal, and it’s the main reason why readers feel little sense of loss when a hero is killed, but rather impatience for the cyclical process to inevitably come around again.
Gunn is right then that it’s important to have stakes, otherwise any life or death situation becomes devoid of tension since, as with comics, it ultimately wouldn’t matter if a character lives or dies. Also, if a character is returned to life after experiencing a significant death, it retrospectively cheapens the moment and forever dilutes its impact.
In keeping with this, Yondu’s final act in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a true moment of redemption for a character who had been morally dubious at best, so to then later revive him would render it meaningless. The MCU has for the most part been pretty good at maintaining true death for characters killed, and to deviate from such uniformity now would set an unfortunate precedent that would just lead to a lessened sense of excitement for future installments.