'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again': Sequel Reveals Fate of Meryl Streep's Character

Jonathan Prime/Universal Studios
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

[The following story contains spoilers from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again]

Since the release of the first trailer for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, fans of the 2008 blockbuster hit, Mamma Mia!, have speculated about the extent to which Meryl Streep would appear in the sequel, now in theaters.

Streep, who plays hotel owner and mom to Amanda Seyfried's Sophie, Donna, was absent from the opening sequences of the sequel's trailer and Sophie frequently refers to her mother in past tense, setting off rumors that Donna is dead in the sequel.

Christine Baranski, who plays Donna's best friend Tanya in both films, hinted at Donna's storyline in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in June, stating that fans would "have to wait" to find out, teasing that it will be "a wonderful surprise."

About 15 minutes into the film, the fate of Streep's hotel owner is revealed: Donna died a year ago.

It's fitting that a grieving Sophie would then name her new business, the Hotel Bella Donna, in honor of her late mother.

When asked why it was decided that Streep's character would die, Mamma Mia! creator Judy Craymer told The Hollywood Reporter that the three-time Oscar winner was a part of the decision to reduce Donna's role in the film.

"I think she felt that she liked the idea of leaving this to the younger ones and she wanted to be involved, but she wasn't gonna take on such a big role," Craymer said. "So I think that helped explore the emotional heft of what Ol Parker wrote in the fact that it's a story of life and marriage and loss and love."

Lucky for fans of Streep's vocals in the last film, the actress still makes one appearance -- this time as a ghost -- for a rendition of ABBA's "My Love, My Life" with Sophie in the movie's final scenes.

"It's a huge storytelling song, it's got a big emotional punch and, of course, she has this incredible voice," Craymer said.

Donna's ghost also joins the entire ensemble for a closing song, the 1980 hit "Super Trouper."

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.