A couple of weeks ago I was circling through Twitter, which is something I often do now. I really can’t believe how much I’ve grown to enjoy Twitter. Apparently, I signed up for it five years ago as I just received a notification over the weekend on this would be anniversary, but I never thought I would actually use it. Hashtagging was strange to me and I was too in love with Facebook. Now with the algorithms of Facebook and Instagram all screwy I’ve turned to Twitter as my go to social media experience. I’m still getting accustomed to it but I’m not going to lie, it’s grown on me. This really has nothing to do with today’s subject but felt like a fun aside. You’re welcome.
As I was traveling through the Twitter-verse I found a thread circling around some comments that James Gunn, director of the Guardians of the Galaxy films and Slither which is a horror movie you need in your life, had made concerning Groot. Geeklings, I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t really ready for these revelations.
I’m sorry, what now?! First Groot is dead?! Baby Groot is his son?! What the what?! Apparently, this has been a thing that has been circling around for a while with a great deal of confusion. In the first Guardians film when Groot does his whole “we are Groot” and everyone’s heart explodes from the immense amount of feels brought on by the talking tree, he actually dies. Groot makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the rest of the Guardians. I was always under the belief that when Rocket plants a piece of Groot later in the film that Groot would be regenerating. You know, this way we don’t really have to actually lose Groot. It turns out that I couldn’t be more wrong and while my head is still spinning over the reveal it sort of makes first Groot even more amazing.
One of the things that Marvel gets ripped for the most is the lack of consequences within the MCU. No one ever dies, until Infinity War apparently. The heroes always kind of walk out unscathed in the end. While that’s fine with some people others find it a bit hokey. I’m kind of indifferent. Could some of the would be deaths been more impactful if the characters, you know, stayed dead? Sure. Think of a world where Nick Fury, Loki, and Coulson actually stayed dead. I don’t want that kind of world either but it would be more impactful. It would make death mean something within the MCU, but don’t forget these movies are based on a comic universe where death really doesn’t mean anything unless your Uncle Ben and Bruce Wayne’s parents.
James Gunn, on the other hand, feels that there should be consequence as he’s given us two Marvel movies and has provided significant character deaths in both. The fact that first Groot died protecting his friends is heartbreaking but also catapults Groot into that stratosphere of being even more beloved. Here was a character who sacrificed himself for his friends. When it comes to character deaths that’s one of the best ones to have. I have yet to watch Guardians since learning of this, it’s next on my Road To Infinity War, but I’m sure the “we are Groot” scene will choke me up even further now. This revelation definitely gives a deeper appreciation for the awesome that is first Groot.
What does this mean for Baby Groot though? Well, he’s an entirely different character. He’s not first Groot 2.0. He’s a new Groot. And while this kind of melts my face it makes sense when you look at the character a bit more closely. Look at some of Baby Groot’s actions throughout the second Guardians movie. The bullying of those weird alien creatures at the start, the constant attacking of Drax, removing a Ravagers toe… these all seemed like things that Groot wouldn’t do. First Groot was a mush who gave a flower to a random girl. Who was appalled by Rocket’s attitude towards Drax’s dead family. That warmth has yet to develop in Baby Groot and that’s because he’s a totally different being. Baby Groot is being raised by the Guardians and for better or worse he’s taking on some of their qualities. What will this mean when he fully grows up? I have no idea, but if the post-credit scenes are any indication, teenage Groot is going to be a handful.
This doesn’t mean that I suddenly dislike Baby Groot because he’s not first Groot. That would be silly. Baby Groot is adorable and a lot of fun. It’s a very unique situation to see an already beloved character sort of hit the reset button and become something new. But this news absolutely changes my outlook for the character. I’m no longer waiting for Baby Groot to turn into “We Are Groot”. Is it something that could happen? Sure. But Baby Groot is a brand new character with a brand new trajectory. Who knows what the events of Infinity War will mean for him. I think what matters most is we live in a world where people just love Groot whether he’s fully grown or a baby. There’s an innocence and warmth within Groot, both versions, that people are drawn to because at the end of the day… we are Groot. Sometimes that’s enough, but man, I wasn’t ready for this news.