9 theories about what happened to Donna in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Universal Pictures

Warning: S.O.S. If you haven’t seen musical masterpiece Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again just yet, honey honey, get yourself to the nearest movie theater because the biggest spoiler from the movie lies just ahead.

It’s been the question on the minds of Mamma Mia fans for months — since the first trailer for the jukebox musical prequel-sequel dropped late last year. With bated breath and the occasional ABBA hum, we’ve been waiting to learn the fate of our beloved Donna Sheridan, played by Meryl Streep. It is with a heavy heart that I (spoiler!!) confirm that Donna has, in fact, died. Here We Go Again picks up some months after her death, as our present-day characters are still mourning the devastating loss. Ghost Donna does make an appearance during the final 10 minutes of the film, but she now largely remains in our hearts — and through Meryl Streep’s exasperated whimsy in Mamma Mia! and Lily James’s adventures as Young Donna throughout the sequel.

As we never learn how Donna dies in Here We Go Again, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to brainstorm the most likely scenarios that likely led to her death:

1She was killed by Aphrodite’s Fountain

At the end of Mamma Mia! Aphrodite’s Fountain burst and while it was SO fun watching the cast of dance to a reprisal of “Mamma Mia!” we can’t forget that a major hole in the ground opened up. Knowing Donna, it probably took years for her to even think about actually plugging up the gaping hole left in the middle of the patio. What if, after a particularly fun frolic to “As Good As New” — which isn’t in either Mamma Mia! but we can pretend the characters sing ABBA deep cuts in their spare time — she fell in? Oh Donna!

2A stage dive gone wrong

Donna has an enigmatic stage presence and relishes in a good stage dive. At her Oxford graduation, it was a massive hit. When she was dancing on the bar at Lazaros’ and fell, Young Bill was there to catch her — in more ways than one. A funny guy and great employer, we just don’t exactly fancy Lazaros as the most reliable. We imagine Donna was performing at the bar, and while attempting a stage dive, which has never gone wrong before, Lazaros wasn’t there to catch her.

3Injuries related to falling through the goat house trapdoor

Guys, Donna fell headfirst through a trapdoor and landed on a half-blown-up air mattress. It’s not exactly a cushion. The adrenaline of seeing three exes for the first time in 20 years, one of whom is the father of her daughter who about to get married, certainly seems like enough to delay the effects of a serious head injury.

4A jumping on the bed related incident

Our parents always warned us that it was all fun and games until someone fell off the bed and got hurt. Ruby Sheridan — aka Cher — likely never warned her daughter of the perils, leading to this truly tragic moment.

5Sam sung “S.O.S.” unannounced, startling Donna to death

If there’s one thing we’ve learned via two Mamma Mia! songs, it’s that Sam Carmichael (Pierce Brosnan) likes to sing. Sam’s love of song, despite not possessing the strongest voice is one of the few relatable aspects of the Mamma Mia! films. Considering the movies are wholly (and lovingly) not relatable by design, Sam’s meh singing while attempting to surprise his wife with a loving serenade is a particularly tragic, though plausible, potential cause of death.

6It was THANOS

When Thanos snapped his Infinity Gauntlet-gloved hand in Avengers: Infinity War and half of humanity (and animals) turned to nothing, he didn’t just turn T’Challa, Bucky Barnes, Peter Parker, and a bunch of superheroes into dust, he also erased Donna Sheridan! How dare he?! Other victims of Thanos from the Mamma Mia! realm appear to be Pepper — Sky’s best man and Tanya’s young suitor — Sophie’s bridesmaids Ali and Lisa, and Harry’s unnamed love interest. Avengers 4 should see Donna and the erased MCU crew work their way out of Infinity Gauntlet Purgatory while singing ABBA. Now that would be the most ambitious event in movie history!

7She took a massive tumble-down those bonkers steps getting up to the chapen

The chapel on the hill is gorgeous. It’s a picturesque place to host a wedding or a christening, but man it’s a hike. Those stairs are plentiful and steep. One stumble during an exasperating climb, especially after belting the particularly ironic “Head Over Heels” in those Bowie boots, could potentially lead one to an early death.

8Bad clams

It’s always the clams. It’s amazing what a batch of bad clams will to do a person.

9Finally, She didn’t actually die!


Donna Sheridan didn’t actually die die! She just simply transcended life and was promoted to Greek God status like Rita Wilson and Bjorn.

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