We first wondered about the status of Donna Sheridan-Carmichael, Meryl Streep's whimsical matriarch in Mamma Mia!, when trailers for the follow-up released late last year seemed to indicate she might have passed away.

With the hit musical's sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again days away from hitting theaters nationwide, we finally have an answer as to whether or not Streep's character is indeed dead or alive.


Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again kicks off with Sophie, Donna's daughter and the character played by Amanda Seyfried, pregnant and struggling in her marriage to Sky, the man she married at the end of the 2008 film. But is her hotel manager mom, Donna,  alive in the Mamma Mia! sequel?

As it turns out, Donna passed away just a year prior to the events of the film, and her death just so happens to be the event which lends to Sophie's emotional crisis, making her wonder how she'll be able to raise a baby without the help of her own beloved mother, who was a single mom.

We never really find out how Donna died, though it's hinted that it was illness that spirited away our beloved Dancing Queen to the afterlife.

However, that's not to say Donna doesn't appear in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again at all. Streep appears in cameo as Donna at one point for a duet at the end of the film, and the character is also portrayed by Cinderella and Baby Driver actress Lily James in multiple flashbacks throughout the film.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is out July 20.

The Cast of Mamma Mia! Then & Now

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