- "I may be as pretty as an angel, but I sure as hell ain't one."
- ―Yondu Udonta
Yondu Udonta was a Centaurian, leader of a key faction of the Ravagers and father figure to Peter Quill. When Quill betrayed the Ravagers and stole an Orb for himself, Udonta led the hunt for his former ally. Eventually Udonta caught up with Quill but he was convinced to help in him the war against Ronan the Accuser, who was threatening to use the Orb's power 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 men.
Udonta's Ravagers 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 Star-Lord in his battle against Ego, however he soon realized that Stakar Ogord had banished him from the Ravagers for betraying their code so decided to do one good thing. Saving Quill from the planet, Udonta sacrificed his own spacesuit, saving Quill and allowing himself to suffocate in deep space, regaining the respect of Ogord and the Ravagers.
Becoming a Ravager
Yondu Udonta's early years were not easy for him: his parents sold him to the Kree Empire for money, and he spent most of his youth closed in a cage. After twenty years of slavery, a legendary space-pirate, Stakar Ogord, freed Udonta and welcomed him into the Ravagers. Udonta became the leader of one of the 100 Ravager Clans. Udonta made a deal with Ego the Living Planet, who hired him to collect his children from across the galaxy and bring them to him. Udonta did as instructed as the job made him rich, but he was unaware that Ego was killing the children.
In 1988, Udonta went to Earth on a delivery mission to take Peter Quill to his father, Ego. Because he knew of the horrific fate that awaits Peter Quill, Yondu Udonta kept the boy as his adoptive son and trained him to be a Ravager. During the following years, Udonta often threatened Quill repeating that he was keeping some of his crew from killing and eating him, although this was in fact a joke but it still led to Quill being constantly terrified for his own life.
Over the next 26 years, Udonta developed a close fondness of Quill, despite never showing any of his actual affection, 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 the Centaurian had been delivering children to Ego the Living Planet. Because of this, Udonta became bitter towards his former mentor for leaving him.
Hunting Down Star-Lord
- "We do not do that to each other; we're Ravagers, we got a code."
- ―Yondu Udonta
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 his buyer Broker. However, when Udonta arrived on Morag with his team of Ravagers, 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 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 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, 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 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 the Ravagers 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 Udonta and his men 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
- "Remember, boy. At the end of all this, I get the stone. You cross me, we kill you all."
- ―Yondu Udonta to Star-Lord
Udonta initially planned to execute Peter Quill because of his many betrayals, first beating him half to death and explaining everything Quill had done to let him down. When Udonta began ranting about how he had saved Quill from being eaten by the Ravagers 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 Orb, which was one of the Infinity Stones.
Despite Quill's attempts to explain everything and insist that the Orb 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 when Quill convinced 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 round.
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 Ronan the Accuser's ship, the Dark Aster, and killing the Kree warrior once inside. While they prepared for battle, Udonta pulled Quill aside to remind him that once the battle was over, he would get the Orb, threatening to kill him if he failed to obey.
- "No more games with me, boy! I’ll see you at the end of this!"
- ―Yondu Udonta to Star-Lord
With their plan going into motion, Udonta and Star-Lord led their squad of ships into the Battle of Xandar; Udonta commanded his Ravagers 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 several Sakaarans who 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.
Yondu 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 Ravagers 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.
Dealing with Ayesha
- "I don't give a damn what you think of me."
"So what are you following us for?"
"Because you're gonna listen to what I gotta say."
"I don't gotta listen to nothing. You betrayed the code."
- ―Yondu Udonta and Stakar Ogord
A few months in the wake of the Battle of Xandar, Udonta, along with his faction of Ravagers went to the Iron Lotus 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.
Udonta got angry with Ogord and chased after him and the two started to argue. Udonta demanded that Ogord listen to him but Ogord remembered why he exiled Yondu when he broke their code. Right as Stakar 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.
The Ravagers easily tracked the Guardians of the Galaxy on Berhert as Udonta had placed a tracer 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 Ravagers including Kraglin Obfonteri turned on 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 fin off the top of his head, consequently causing him to go unconscious from the impact.
Udonta, Rocket and Groot were taken back to the Eclector were any Ravager members who sided with Udonta were ejected into space. Udonta, being subdued, watched as Taserface took control of his Ravager crew 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 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 and when he asked why he didn't deliver Quill, Udonta lied saying that he was good for thieving.
- "Hey, you wanna help us get out of here? There's something I need you to get and bring back to me. In the captain's quarters, there's a prototype fin, that thing I wore on my head, there's a draw next to the bunk, it's in that. It's red, you got it?"
- ―Yondu Udonta to Groot
Rocket then told Udonta that they needed to escape right as Groot (who had just been terrorised by Wretch), walked by their cell. Udonta asked Groot to retrieve his second prosthetic fin so that he could use his could use his Yaka Arrow to help them all escape. Groot failed to understand Udonta's orders and retrieved several items that weren't the fin including his underwear, a desk and someones severed toe. After a few failed attempts, Kraglin Obfonteri eventually retrieved Udonta's fin and decided to help them as he wasn't aware that they were going to start a mutiny and kill some of Kraglin's friends. Udonta told Kraglin to get the third Quadrant ready for release.
Kraglin 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 fin. When two of the Ravagers checked on Udonta they were killed by him with his new fin 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. Rocket then joined in and shot anyone who got near the doors and the two began to laugh at the amount of fun and easiness of their attacks. Udonta then noticed Taserface walking through a hallway and called his arrow and flew it straight at him while igniting it. Taserface dodged the arrow but the rest of the Eclector blew up due to the arrow killing Taserface and any other Ravager remaining. Udonta then met up with Kraglin and the four escaped in the third Quadrant and headed for Ego's Planet.
Confronting Rocket Raccoon
- "You can fool yourself and everyone else, but you can't fool me. I know who you are."
"You don't know anything about me loser."
"I know everything about you. I know you play like you're the meanest in the heart but actually you're the most scared of all."
- ―Yondu Udonta and Rocket Raccoon
Having escaped with the others, the four headed straight for Ego the Living Planet 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 amount 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 but he told him about how 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.
- "You still reckon that's the reason I kept you around you idiot?"
"That's what you told me you old doofus."
"Well once I figured out what happened to those other kids, I wasn't just gonna hand you over."
- ―Yondu Udonta and Star-Lord
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. The Guardians flew down into the planet's core to destroy it. Quill sarcastically thanked Udonta for not delivering him to Ego still under the impression that the only reason he kept him was because he was skinny. Udonta told Quill that he knew about Ego's plans so that was why he didn't deliver him. 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 at one point 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 informed them that the Sovereign were coming right as they came under fire by the Sovereign, who were given Udonta's co-ordiantes 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 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 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 was his daddy, unlike Ego 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 Ravagers Farewell. After Udonta's funeral, Obfonteri was given Yondu Udonta's Fin while he gave Quill a Zune that Udonta had found in a shop and was going to give to Quill.
After receiving Udonta's fin and Yaka Arrow, Kraglin 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 to steal stuff.
- "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."
- ―Star-Lord about Yondu Udonta
As leader 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 his father. Though he claims that the Ravagers have a code of honour, as Quill states that code is virtually steal 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.
With Quill, Udonta has a complicated history. As numerous of his mean state, he had always been soft on him and protected his wellbeing - 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. For example, taking his word in defending Xandar from Ronan the Accuser for the Infinity Stone but vowed to kill Quill and the Guardians of the Galaxy if they double-crossed him. When granted 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. 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, Yondu is not a heartless person: in spite of being an alien thief, he has a level of humanity and a soft spot for Peter Quill. When he found a Troll Doll instead of the Infinity Stone inside the Orb, he laughed with joy and choose to forgive this deception instead of lashing out in anger. It is also revealed that Yondu did not deliver Peter to Ego because he learned what happened to Ego's other children and kept Peter away from his father to keep him safe. He also kept the Ravengers 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 of the Galaxy allies to the Nova Corps. Yondu sacrificed his own life to save Peter and even inspired him to stand up to his megalomaniac father. In his dying moments, he told Peter while Ego was his biological father, he was not Peter'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.
- Arrow Mastery: Udonta is 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.
- Master Pilot: Udonta is 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 is so skilled in the art of thievery and guile that he remains leader of the Ravagers. Udonta has the ability to see potential profit in any situation, choosing to keep Quill for himself instead of giving him to his father, Ego.
- Prosthetic Fin: 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.
- 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 an 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.
- 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.
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.