When the Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer dropped last week, the internet was abuzz about it. Fans and critics both seemed to both love and question Baby Groot, who was featured prominently in the teaser. As you recall, Baby Groot made a cameo at the end of the first film and the trailer made it look like the hero-as-a-young-tree will be a major figure in the sequel. On Twitter, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn told fans why Groot is a baby in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — and he said it's a purely creative decision.
Gunn's tweets on the topic were in response to a tweeted question by Ryan MacIsaac, asking if making Groot a baby was a "marketing ploy made to sell more merchandise." The director responded: "I’m sure some people think that but for me keeping him Baby Groot throughout the film was the creative change that opened the film up for me." He followed that up with another tweet: "I was less confident the studio was going to buy in on Baby Groot than I was they were going to buy in on Ego the Living Planet." Sure, Baby Groot is so adorable and the toys of the young version of the character are very popular, but I think Gunn made a fantastic decision to explore everyone's favorite tree hero at another time in his life.
In the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, Groot is a big-hearted, self-sacrificing, ever-growing large tree man, who can be somewhat intimidating in what can be presumed to be his mature form. His vocabulary was famously made up of three (or four) words: "I am Groot," spoken in a number of different inflections (and he threw the word "We" in there during key moments, ahem). As much as the audience loved Groot in his presumable adult form, the character could have ended up being more of the same in the sequel — and the main job of movie No. 2 in a series is to shake things up a bit, not keep everything the same.
The benefit of Guardians of the Galaxy's super fun universe and Groot being so versatile is that it's totally believable that fans can see Groot during various stages of his life. Viewers have seen him as a virtually indestructible adult, and now they'll get to see him as a cute little baby. And in future films, there are so many other possibilities for the character. The audience can see him as an wide-eyed pre-teen running all over the place, or as a moody teen who just wants to be left alone with his branches.
Just like the first film showed us how versatile the words "I am Groot" can be, the character's potential for storytelling is endless — and Gunn is brilliant for taking that on creatively.
Images: Marvel Entertainment (2)