Groot from the first Guardians of the Galaxy film is dead and Baby Groot is a new character, James Gunn has reiterated. The Guardians, as a collective, is a definite fan-favorite in the bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe, but if there is one standout among all of them, it would undoubtedly be the speech-limited tree, Groot – an unexpected feat especially when it is quite bizarre to get attached to a walking and talking tree-like being. Somehow, however, thanks to Gunn’s film, the character was able to find a way to people’s hearts.
So when the sentient, bipedal tree sacrificed himself to save his newfound friends at the end of the first Guardians, people were shocked that Marvel would actually kill a character and saddened by his demise. Then along came Baby Groot, a small version of the character, which actually grew from the remaining parts of the original Groot – prompting most of us to presume that he is some form of reincarnation. Gunn, however, provides some clarification regarding this, saying that the two are definitely different characters.
The filmmaker’s comments have come courtesy of a Facebook post addressing the controversy of characters being brought from the dead. In it, Gunn explained how the two Groots are different beings:
“I also mentioned to folks who…kept throwing the Groot revival in my face, that that example doesn’t really work because Groot is dead. Although I don’t necessarily think it’s obvious in Vol. 1, it’s important to say that if you exploded and a little glob of you started growing into a baby, I would not assume that baby was you.
Although I don’t necessarily think it’s obvious in Vol. 1, it’s important to say that if you exploded and a little glob of you started growing into a baby, I would not assume that baby was you.
I do think it’s more obvious in Vol. 2, as Baby Groot has a different personality than Groot, none of his memories, and is much, much dumber.
Baby Groot is arguably cuter and more fun to watch with his toddler antics compared to the grown-up version. And seeing him going through puberty, as teased by the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 helps people get to know him more. But in retrospect, having the presumption (this time, obviously the wrong one) that Baby Groot is a reincarnation of the original Groot made it easier for us to accept the latter’s death, arguably undermining its effect. Further, it was not difficult at all either to arrive at the wrong conclusion for fans, especially when we saw Baby Groot literally grew from pieces of adult Groot. Gunn’s explanation on the matter, however, gives us more context moving forward that this new growing tree might look similar to the older version, but he is a brand new character himself with his own quirks and personality.
As the Guardians take their biggest and most dangerous mission yet in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War, it will be fun to see how a pubescent Groot will interact not just with his own team but with other superheroes in the MCU as well. Having him in the mix, with his teenage angst and uninterested behavior could be a great way to introduce levity in a rather serious Marvel flick without being totally jarring to viewers.