- "I may be as pretty as an angel, but I sure as hell ain't one."
- ―Yondu Udonta[src]
Yondu Udonta was the leader of an exiled faction of the Ravagers and the adoptive father of Peter Quill. When Quill betrayed the Ravagers and stole the Orb for himself, Udonta led the hunt for his former ally. Eventually, Udonta caught up with Quill, but he was convinced to help him in the battle against Ronan the Accuser, who was threatening to use the Power Stone to destroy Xandar, with Quill ensuring Udonta did not get the Infinity Stone at the end. Despite losing the stone, Udonta chose not to get revenge against Quill, leading to mistrust among all of his own clan.
Udonta's clan turned against their former captain and put their trust instead in Taserface. With the help of Rocket Raccoon, Udonta got his revenge against the mutineers and destroyed his own ship. Udonta went to help the Guardians of the Galaxy in the battle against Ego. As the planet collapsed into itself, Udonta sacrificed his own spacesuit, and his own life in the process, saving Quill.
Becoming a Ravager
Yondu Udonta's early years were not easy for him: his parents sold him to the Kree Empire and he spent most of his youth closed in a cage. After twenty years of slavery, Stakar Ogord freed Udonta and welcomed him into the Ravagers. Udonta eventually became the leader of his own Ravager clan. When Ego offered Udonta generous financial compensation in exchange for kidnapping his children and delivering them to him, Udonta agreed, despite the Ravagers' code explicitly forbidding the trafficking of children. However, when it became apparent that the children were being murdered, Udonta and his clan were exiled by Ogord.
In 1988, Udonta was hired by Ego to travel to Missouri on Earth and kidnap Peter Quill. Aware that the other children he had delivered had been murdered, Udonta chose to keep Quill and raised him to be a Ravager. During the following years, Udonta often joked about his crew from killing and eating Quill for pleasure, although Quill perceived this as an actual threat and became terrified of them.
Over the next 26 years, Udonta developed a close relationship with Quill, despite his efforts of never showing any affection in person, training him to become a Ravager just like him. Around the same time, Udonta was exiled from the other clans of Ravagers by Stakar Ogord after he found out that Udonta had been delivering children to Ego. Udonta defended himself saying he did not know better, but Stakar knew his protege well enough to know that the former was too smart to be that ignorant and that the profitability from Ego's commissions made Udonta turn a blind eye. Because of this, Udonta became bitter towards his former mentor for leaving him, but knew deep down that he deserved the banishment due to letting his own greed overtaking his morals.
Hunting Down Star-Lord
Udonta discovered that a mysterious item called the Orb was located on Morag; he was offered a great fee if he retrieved the item for the Broker. However, when Udonta had finally arrived on Morag with his clan, he discovered Peter Quill had betrayed him and found and taken the Orb for himself with the intention of selling it to the Broker before Udonta could. Udonta was furious and phoned Quill, who did not deny he had taken the Orb but he instead refused to give his location before hanging up the call.
Furious at this betrayal, Udonta issued a bounty for Quill's capture for 40,000 units; when Udonta said he wanted Quill alive, this led to an argument with Horuz, who insisted that they should have handed Quill over to Ego like they were originally hired to do, noting Udonta had always been soft on Quill and had never punished him when he disobeyed his own orders. Udonta turned the situation around and threatened Horuz with his Yaka Arrow and assured his men that once he had Quill in their custody, he would kill him himself.
Udonta and Kraglin Obfonteri then both traveled to Xandar to meet with Broker. Before revealing why they were really there, Udonta took some time to admire the various artifacts that the Broker had on for sale, commenting that he wished to buy some to decorate his own M-ship. When Broker questioned if this was a joke or not, Obfonteri confirmed that Udonta was being completely serious.
However, he made his true intentions known quickly when he then demanded to know to whom Broker intended to sell the Orb. Although Broker tried to insist that he would be unable to reveal the names of his buyers, Udonta ignored his many excuses and spoke over him with gibberish, mocking and annoying Broker the more he did it while Obfonteri laughed. As Broker still refused to give up the information, Udonta drew his Yaka Arrow and aimed it at Broker who, scared for his life, finally revealed that the Collector was the buyer.
Udonta and his clan traveled together Knowhere to confront the Collector and reclaim the Orb: However, instead, they quickly found Quill, who had been trying to sell the Orb to the Collector as well. Udonta called out to Quill and demanded he stay where he was; however, Quill was also being attacked by Ronan the Accuser and his army of Sakaaran soldiers so fled before Ravagers could catch him, finding himself chased by Ronan's army.
Quill was able to briefly get away from Udonta by piloting a mining ship; however, before long Quill was forced to give his location away to save himself and Gamora from suffocating in space, as Quill had given her his helmet to try and save her. Udonta came to Quill's aid and found him floating in space beside the already dying Gamora. Udonta abducted the pair onto the Eclector, sending Obfonteri and his men to then bring them to him for questioning.
A Questionable Partnership
Udonta initially berates Peter Quill for his many rebellious antics, beating him up and explaining everything Quill had done to let him down. When Udonta rants about how he had saved Quill from being eaten by his subordinates the day he had been taken away by him, Quill argued that this was not a good enough reason for him to feel grateful to Udonta before insisting that they needed to find the Power Stone, which was one of the Infinity Stones.
Despite Quill's attempts to explain everything and insist that the Power Stone could destroy all of Xandar if it was not recovered, Udonta aimed his Yaka Arrow at Quill's throat and prepared to execute him, but Quill calls his bluff by convincing him that it was possible to steal the Orb from Ronan the Accuser with insider knowledge provided by Gamora. Thinking for a moment, Udonta withdrew his arrow and they decided to work together, celebrating with laughs and cheers all around.
Before they could complete their arrangement, Udonta and Quill's reunion was interrupted by an explosion outside the ship. When Udonta went to investigate he discovered Rocket Raccoon had taken control of Quill's ship, the Milano, and was threatening to destroy Udonta's ship with Drax the Destroyer using the Hadron Enforcer if Udonta did not free Quill and Gamora. Udonta called Rocket's bluff but Quill quickly appeared and assured Rocket that everything had been worked out and they were now fine.
Udonta allowed Quill to return to his ship to work out a plan with Rocket, Groot, Drax, and Gamora. Eventually, Quill returned with his team and they discussed a plan which involved Quill and Udonta's ship boarding the Dark Aster and killing Ronan once inside. While they prepared for battle, Udonta pulled Quill aside to remind him that once the battle was over, he would get the Power Stone, threatening to kill him if he failed to obey.
With their plan going into motion, Udonta and Star-Lord led their squad of ships into the Battle of Xandar; Udonta commanded his clan to attack Ronan the Accuser's army of Sakaarans when Ronan sent in his soldiers as defense. While Kraglin Obfonteri and Rocket Raccoon shot a hole in the side of the Dark Aster, Udonta and Quill planned to enter the ship together. However, Ronan's army soon overwhelmed them and Udonta's M-ship was quickly shot down in the chaos. As he fell, Udonta vowed to survive and promised to see Quill at the end of the battle while Quill continued to battle Ronan's army.
Udonta survived the crash and got out of his wrecked ship, picking up some of the items he had bought from Broker's shop. When he turned around, Udonta discovered that he had been surrounded by a fleet of Sakaarans who seemingly recognized him from his slave days as they referred to him by name. They aimed their Necroblasters at him and ordered that Udonta surrender himself before commanding his men to attack the various Nova Corps ships that were currently assisting Quill and the others in the aerial battle against Ronan's forces.
Instead of obeying, Udonta calmly opened his jacket without a word and whistled. As the Sakaarans stood momentarily confused at his actions, Udonta used his Yaka Arrow to single-handedly kill every Sakaaran in front of him as his arrow darted through all their bodies, even causing one of their Necrocraft to crash and explode. With all his would-be captors dead, Udonta collected his arrow and made his way back towards Xandar where the battle was still raging on with his Ravagers protecting the innocent people from harm.
By the time Udonta made it back to the city, he arrived just in time to witness Ronan the Accuser's death. Udonta teased Peter Quill and Gamora as they shared an intimate moment and demanded Quill to hand over the Orb as agreed. Although Quill tried to argue, he eventually agreed and handed the Orb over to Udonta and the Ravagers, before then reminding Udonta not to open the Orb for his and his men's safety.
Udonta agreed and left Quill, unaware that he took wrong Orb. As he prepared to leave Xandar with Kraglin Obfonteri, they both discussed how Quill had turned out better than they expected, with Obfonteri noting that the result of not delivering Quill to his own father, Ego like they were originally hired to do had worked out for the best. Udonta noted that he had thought Ego was a jackass as they flew an M-ship back to the Eclector to make their hasty escape.
As the Yondu Ravager Clan traveled through space, they drank and celebrated the victory in the Battle of Xandar and how they had defeated the Kree warmonger Ronan. Udonta sat alone and decided to open the Orb given to him by Quill only to find a Troll doll. Udonta realized Quill had used a classic Ravager move and that the Infinity Stone was left with Irani Rael for safe-keeping. Instead of being angered, however, Udonta began laughing and kept the doll as a souvenir. Some time afterwards, Udonta acquired a Zune, which he would give to Quill if he rejoined the Ravagers.
Dealing with Ayesha
A few months in the wake of the Battle of Xandar, Udonta, along with his clan went to the Iron Lotus on Contraxia to relax. Udonta got dressed from his room as he watched all of the other Ravagers outside have fun. As Udonta went outside, he quickly approached Stakar Ogord who walked away from him in utter disgust at seeing Udonta again, in spite of the showing Ogord a respectful gesture.
Udonta got angry with Ogord and chased after him and the two started to argue. Udonta demanded that Ogord to listen to him, but Ogord refused, citing that he had been exiled for the child trafficking that led to the children's deaths, claiming that Udonta did not care about their fate as it had made him wealthy. Right as Ogord left, Ayesha arrived to hire Udonta and his clan to hunt down the Guardians of the Galaxy who had stolen some of their Anulax Batteries from them. Udonta took the job and left to find the Guardians unaware that part of his faction was planning to start a mutiny against him as they believed he has gone soft. It is implied that Yondu's faction was struggling financially as they had been independent for many years.
The Ravagers easily tracked the Guardians of the Galaxy on Berhert as Udonta had placed a tracker on the Milano after the Battle of Xandar. After Rocket Raccoon took down some of the Ravagers, Udonta got the upper hand on him with his Yaka Arrow. Udonta told Rocket about the job they were given by Ayesha and that she wants him to return the Guardians to her so she can kill them. Rocket pleaded that they don't hurt Groot if he told them the location of the batteries but Udonta said that he wasn't going to hand him over which angered some of the Ravagers.
Udonta decided to keep the batteries and sell them for a quarter of what Ayesha was going to pay them causing a conflict between the Ravagers. Taserface along with some of the clan, including Kraglin Obfonteri, turned against Udonta saying he has gone soft. The Ravagers then turned on each other and were about to engage in a fight when Nebula shot Udonta's Yaka Arrow Controller off the top of his head, consequently causing him to go unconscious from the impact.
Udonta, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot were taken to the Eclector where all Ravagers who sided with Udonta were ejected into space. Udonta, being subdued, watched as Taserface took control of his clan and beat him up. Udonta was then put in a cell with Rocket and would be delivered to the Kree the next day where they would be executed.
Udonta told Rocket about his history as a Ravager including his time with his team that showed similarities to the Guardians of the Galaxy as they had a family like a relationship. Udonta also mentioned his exile by Stakar Ogord and that he deserves everything that is happening to him as he broke the Ravager code. Rocket told Udonta that Peter Quill was with Ego, worrying him. Udonta was asked by Rocket on why he didn't deliver Quill, saying that he was good for thieving.
Rocket Raccoon then told Udonta that they needed to escape right as Groot, who had just been terrorized by Retch, walked by their cell. Udonta asked Groot to retrieve his Yaka Arrow Controller so that he could use his Yaka Arrow to help them all escape. Groot failed to understand Udonta's orders and retrieved several items that were not the controller including his underwear, a desk, Vorker's eye, and a severed toe. After a few failed attempts, Kraglin Obfonteri eventually retrieved the controller and decided to help them as he was not aware that they were going to start a mutiny and kill all of Obfonteri's friends. Udonta told Kraglin to get the third Quadrant ready for release.
Obfonteri was instructed by Rocket to play some of Peter Quill's music to warn the Ravagers that Udonta was escaping, but what they didn't know is that he was already ready for them with his newly attached controller. When "Come A Little Bit Closer" alerted the Ravagers, two of them checked on Udonta they were killed by him with his new controller and the three escaped their cells. Then a group of Ravagers charged at them, but they were no match for Udonta who killed them all within seconds and then continued to escape. The three made their way to a catwalk where Udonta managed to kill a lot more Ravagers who then fell past them after being stabbed by the Yaka Arrow.
Udonta, Rocket, and Groot made their way to the control room where they used the advantage of the display screens to kill any remaining Ravagers. While having fun with their attacks, Udonta then noticed Taserface walking through a hallway and called his arrow and flew it straight at him while igniting it. Udonta destroyed the Eclector due to the arrow hitting the fuel tank, killing Taserface. Udonta then met up with Obfonteri and the four escaped into the Quadrant and headed for Ego's Planet.
Confronting Rocket Raccoon
Having escaped with the others, the gang headed straight for Ego to rescue the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy as Udonta knew Ego's true intentions for Peter Quill. As they prepared to leave Rocket Raccoon mistakenly set the ship to seven-hundred jumps causing all of their faces, including Groot and Kraglin Obfonteri, to temporarily disfigure as they traveled.
When they arrived, the four were thrown to the ground after the number of jumps they just took at once. Rocket told Udonta that he wanted to save Quill from Ego so he could prove he's better than him, but Udonta confronted Rocket about who he really is. Rocket rejected Udonta's observation but he continued on by telling him how much they are the same. After their dispute, Udonta told them that they're going to fight a planet which Rocket hesitated as he was not aware of Ego's true form.
Udonta and Rocket Raccoon saved Star-Lord by crashing straight into Ego. The Guardians of the Galaxy got into the Laser Drill which surprised Quill to see Udonta helping them. Quill sarcastically thanked Udonta for not delivering him to Ego still under the impression that the only reason he kept him was that he was skinny. Udonta told Quill that he knew about what happened to Ego's other children so that was why he didn't deliver him.
As they broke free of Ego's palace, Quill directed the ship towards the ground. Udonta insisted they flee the planet, only to be told that Ego was going to destroy the universe as they know it, so they had to drill into his core to destroy it. As they drilled down, Udonta asked Quill about what Ego wanted him for. Quill told him that he wanted to use his power, which he used to create a ball which was all he could think of, which Udonta tried to tell him that he doesn't use his head to control the Yaka Arrow.
As they were destroying the core, Kraglin Obfonteri informed them that the Sovereign were coming right as they came under fire by the Sovereign, who were given Udonta's coordinates by Taserface in his final moments. The Guardians fell out of the ship and Rocket and Quill went to blow up Ego's core with a bomb he just created leaving Udonta and Nebula on the Laser Drill. Quill flew back to the ship to ask Udonta if he had any tape for the bomb but he didn't. The Sovereign started firing at the ship causing their thrusters to go out.
Nebula hooked herself up to the ship causing her to be electrocuted as the ship's lasers destroyed the entire Sovereign fleet. The ship then blew up from the attack so Udonta quickly summoned his Yaka Arrow to escape. Udonta used his Arrow to fly down which Quill compared him to Mary Poppins hovering with her umbrella and when he asked if "he" was cool, Quill said yes. Udonta, not knowing that Mary Poppins was woman, proceeded to proclaim that he was Mary Poppins. Udonta and Quill landed and regrouped with the rest.
Joining the Guardians of the Galaxy
All the Guardians came together, but Mantis was knocked out by Ego causing the planet to be under his control again. Udonta called Kraglin Obfonteri to bring the Quadrant down so the Guardians could evacuate. They were soon separated by Ego leaving him, Quill and Rocket to fight off Ego's attacks. After a while of fighting, Udonta and Rocket become trapped by some rubble by Ego and his Yaka Arrow broke. Before Udonta could be completely covered by the rubble, he inspired Quill to fight Ego. Udonta was freed along with the other Guardians who were trapped by Ego.
When the Guardians were evacuating due to the bomb being set off by Groot, Udonta decided to stay so he could save Quill as he has done nothing else right in his life. Rocket gave him the last space suit and flight suit. Groot then welcomed Udonta onto the Guardians of the Galaxy, to which Rocket proudly translated.
As Ego exploded, Udonta, wearing a flight suit rescued Star-Lord from the destruction and flew him to safety. Unfortunately, there was only one space suit left so Udonta gave it to Quill and saved his life, sacrificing his own. Udonta told Quill that Ego may have been his biological father, but he wasn't his daddy, as they flew into space. Quill watched as Udonta began to suffocate and freeze right in front of him, not being able to do anything about it. Before Udonta fully succumbed, he patted Quill's face to calm him. Quill held onto Udonta as he mourned his loss and waited for the other Guardians of the Galaxy to retrieve them.
Udonta's body was retrieved from space and he was given a funeral by the Guardians and Kraglin Obfonteri. Quill gave a eulogy and talked about how he used to tell kids that David Hasselhoff was his dad when in fact Udonta was kind of like Hasselhoff and that he was Quill's dad. They then cremated the body as Rocket Raccoon called the rest of the Ravagers who gave Udonta a Ravager farewell. After Udonta's funeral, Obfonteri was given Yaka Arrow Controller while he gave Quill a Zune that Udonta had found in a shop and was going to give to Quill.
Obfonteri took up Udonta's trademark weapon and began to practice using the weapon only to end up accidentally stabbing Drax in the chest. Udonta's actions went on to inspire Stakar Ogord to assemble his previous team which Udonta was previously a part of as he believed that Udonta would be proud to know that they're together again.
- "Yondu didn't have a talking car but he did have a flying arrow. He didn't have the beautiful voice of an angel but he did have the whistle of one. Both Yondu and David Hasselhoff went on kick-ass adventures and hooked up with hot women and fought robots. I guess David Hasselhoff did kind of end up being my dad after all, and it was you, Yondu. I had a pretty cool dad."
- ―Peter Quill[src]
As the leader of his own faction of the Ravagers, Yondu Udonta appears as an unscrupulous thief. He is willing to kill, threaten and betray if his well-being is in danger or he desires something of value, sometimes reneging on his employers for a benefit such as turning Peter Quill into a Ravager when he was supposed to deliver him to Ego. Though he claims that the Ravagers have a code of honor, as Quill states that code is virtually stolen from everyone. It should be noted that Udonta may have some morality as he stopped the Ravagers from eating the young Quill - an act which he continued to throw in his face, even though it was, in fact, a joke.
With Quill, Udonta has a complicated history. As numerous of his men have stated, he had always been soft on him and protected his well being - at times costing his credibility amongst the Ravagers but he was willing to use Quill as an example to his men, if not apologetically. Despite being a thief, he has a level of trust in Quill but due to being betrayed beforehand, an equal level of mistrust and disappointment. For example, he took Quill's word in defending Xandar from Ronan the Accuser for the Power Stone but vowed to kill Quill and the Guardians of the Galaxy if they double-crossed him. Udonta beat Quill in front of his men to seem tough and threatened to kill him as an example. However, both of these instances were ruses as Yondu knew that Peter would talk his way out of both instances while having no intention of actually killing his adopted son. When given the Orb containing the Stone, he did not seem particularly angered to find out that Quill gave him a fake Orb. Quill does state that Udonta is the only family he has.
Udonta also has a habit in which he collects oddities and places them on the console of his chair, with the most recent one being a Troll Doll that was given to him by Quill in the place of the Infinity Stone.
Even with his flaws and unscrupulous attitudes, Udonta is not a heartless person: in spite of being a criminal, he has a level of humanity and a soft spot for Quill, his adopted son. When he found a Troll Doll instead of the Infinity Stone inside the Orb, he smiled and chose to forgive this deception instead of lashing out in anger. It is also revealed that Udonta did not deliver Quill to Ego because he learned what happened to Ego's other children and kept Quill away from his father to keep him safe. Udonta likewise felt shame and remorse for having delivered Ego's other children to their fates and despite attempting to justify himself that he didn't knew, Udonta deep down acknowledged he deserved the punishment of being banished by Sakar Ogord. Udonta was also surprisingly patient with the incompetence of baby Groot, even affectionately nicknaming him "Twig".
He also kept the Ravagers from attacking the Guardians when he was not given the Infinity Stone he was promised and cleverly kept his intentions hidden by saying the Nova Corps would be after them since their actions on Xandar had made the Guardians allies to the Nova Corps. Udonta sacrificed his own life to save Quill and even inspired him to stand up to his megalomaniac father. In his dying moments, he told Quill while Ego was his biological father, he was not Quill's dad since he did not raise him and that Yondu was his dad. This act shows how much he loved Peter, as he sacrificed himself to ensure his survival. When Quill began frantically trying to remove his spacesuit, Udonta gently patted his face, granting Quill some genuinely fatherly affection at last.
Powers and Abilities
- Cybernetic Enhancements: Protruding out of Udonta's head is a prosthetic metal piece which allows Udonta to control and aim the Yaka Arrow, as it glows red whenever he is controlling the arrow.
- Arrow Mastery: Udonta was able to control an arrow made of Yaka with a series of whistles. Depending on the tone and intensity of the whistle, the speed, strength, and direction can be controlled. With his skill, Udonta is capable of either threatening an individual, killing an entire squad of Sakaarans before they could have time to react, or eliminating an entire fleet of the Ravagers who mutinied against him. The arrow is capable of penetrating anything and seems capable of moving at a speed of Mach 5 at least.
- Master Pilot: Udonta was a highly skilled pilot; he was selected to join Peter Quill in the assault inside the Dark Aster. He was able to shoot down many enemy ships before his M-ship was damaged and he was forced to make a crash landing.
- Master Thief: Udonta was skilled in the art of thievery as a Ravager.
- Yaka Arrow: Udonta uses this whistle-controlled arrow made from Yaka to attack his enemies. Although Udonta rarely actually used the arrow, he often threatened people with it, including Star-Lord and Broker, who both knew how deadly it could be. During the Battle of Xandar, however, Udonta found himself cornered by a unit of the Sakaarans and used the arrow to kill every enemy in mere seconds, even managing to destroy a Necrocraft by ripping it apart from the inside.
- Yaka Arrow Controller: Protruding out of Udonta's head is a prosthetic metal piece which allows Udonta to control and aim the Yaka Arrow, as it glows red whenever he is controlling the arrow.
- M-ship: Udonta has his own personal M-ship along with the other Ravagers, which he piloted himself during the Battle of Xandar, shooting several of Ronan the Accuser's army of Necrocraft out of the sky. However, the ship was soon shot out of the sky and crash-landed on Xandar, although Udonta was able to survive.
- In the comics, Yondu Udonta was one of the original members of the Guardians of the Galaxy from the 31st century of Earth-691, using a bow and a quiver of arrows made of Yaka as weapons. Following his introduction in Guardians of the Galaxy, a new version of the character was introduced in the Mainstream Comic Universe, as a criminal ancestor of the original Yondu Udonta, a version more similar to his movie counterpart.
- Udonta's prototype fin is similar to his comics counterpart's fin.
- Before the Guardians of the Galaxy met Ego, Drax was convinced that Udonta was Star-Lord's biological father.
Behind the Scenes
- In the director's commentary for Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn states that "Yondu is not dumb" and suggested that Yondu was aware, or at least suspected, that Star-Lord was not giving him the true Infinity Stone, but simply did not wish to kill Quill. This is supported by the fact that he does not appear particularly surprised to find it not inside the container when he opens it, but instead appears pleased by the "gift" of a troll doll.
- In a non-canon extra scene of Thor: Ragnarok, Michael Rooker appears as Yondu Udonta on Asgard during the attempted execution of a woman by Skurge's hand. In the scene, Udonta asks Skurge for "where Kevin and Lou's offices are", before telling to proceed with what he was doing.
- David R. Grant, Larry Rippenkroeger and Panuvat Anthony Nanakornpanom were stunt doubles for Michael Rooker in the role of Yondu Udonta.
- Robert Eames was a stand-in for Michael Rooker in the role of Yondu Udonta.