Is Donna Sheridan dead or alive? That’s what fans want to know after the trailer for Mama Mia 2 dropped on December 21, 2017. The trailer has a lot of fans convinced that Meryl Streep’s iconic character is dead. Don’t keep reading if you don’t want to read spoilers from the sequel, which is officially called Mama Mia: Here We Go Again!
What’s the evidence for Donna’s death? Actually, there was some evidence for and against it. The evidence against the Donna Sheridan character dying is probably stronger because Streep was on the set.
It turns out, though, that Donna is, in fact, dead in the sequel. “In the present day, Donna is dead (!) and Amanda Seyfried’s Sophie is reopening her mother’s villa as the Hotel Bella Donna, an endeavor that is somewhat soured by her husband Sky’s (Dominic Cooper) absence and some inclement weather. That’s basically it,” reports Vulture.
The Hollywood Reporter also notes, “…it is structured around the — spoiler alert! — ensemble’s collective grief over the early death of Donna.” Leave it to Sophie and Sam to keep Donna’s hotel dream alive.
The death of Donna would mean the demise of one of Hollywood’s most beloved characters. As fans know, the first movie centered around Donna’s relationship with her daughter, Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried. Sophie, about to be married, realizes that her mother isn’t sure who her father is; it could be Sam, Bill, or Harry, flings she had when she was young and carefree, although it’s Sam she’s always loved. Sophie secretly invites the men to her wedding.
The trailer for Mama Mia 2, the long-awaited sequel to that beloved hit, is greatly upsetting some fans because they think it implies that the movie kills off Donna Sheridan.
Here’s the evidence in both directions:
Evidence Donna Sheridan Is Dead
Meryl Streep’s character does not, at first glance, seem to appear in any new scenes in the trailer. It looks in the trailer like the movie focuses on a young Donna, who is not played by Streep, and there are many scenes showing Sophie interacting with people who are not Donna, including her mother’s friends and former lovers.
This has some fans convinced that Donna has met her demise.
What’s worrying fans most is a line in the trailer. “Your mother was the bravest person we ever knew,” Rosie (played by Julie Walters) says to a pregnant Sophie. “Let me tell you how she did it, all on her own.”
That’s the set up for the flashbacks to the younger Donna, and it has fans wondering why Rosie refers to Donna Sheridan in the past tense. However, it’s possible, of course, that Rosie refers to Donna in past tense only because she’s making a comment on the younger Donna in that scene to set up the premise.
In another scene in the trailer, Sophia says to Sky: “I’ve never felt closer to my mom. She wasn’t scared because she had me.” According to US Magazine, some fans are interpreting that line as a troublesome sign that Donna is dead, saying, “why is she talking about her mother like she’s not there? And why isn’t there new footage of Streep in the film?” However, that line feels less persuasive.
In fact, rest assured, there are some concrete signs that Donna Sheridan is alive, not dead, in the sequel.
Evidence That Donna Sheridan Is Alive
There’s no confirmation from the studio of a Donna Sheridan death. The best evidence that she is not dead? She was part of the cast, and was on the set. Furthermore, look closer. Donna is featured in a brief frame in the trailer. You just have to look closely to see it, which does beg the question as to why Meryl Streep is not front-and-center in the advertisement for the sequel.
The sequel’s producer shared a cast photo of Mama Mia 2 on social media, and Meryl Streep is in it. See above. Streep also features in a behind-the-scenes photo posted by the producer.
RadioTimes notes that in a single frame of the new trailer, Streep does appear briefly in it. Although it seems like a flashback to the first movie, because she’s wearing her famous overalls, characters from the second film are glimpsed in the frame. You can see that frame on the Radio Times site at the above link.
Radio Times also notes that Cher, who plays Donna’s mother in the sequel, wrote on Twitter that Meryl Streep was on the set.
UK Daily Mail reports that Meryl Streep is returning in the sequel and that a director’s chair features the name “Donna” in one photo relating to the sequel.
“Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried return as mother-daughter duo Donna and Sophie, but this time around Sophie is pregnant, and she learns the story of her mother’s pregnancy,” CNN reported. However, Daily Variety wrote that the trailer “teases Meryl Streep’s Character’s Death.”