If you've seen a single piece of promotional material for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, then you've fallen in love with Baby Groot. It's not even a question: to see him is to love him. It's also to recognize and acclaim a bold choice; with Groot's popularity as the big bruiser of the team in the first Guardians film, leaving him as a diminutive version of the character for the duration of the film was a risk - and originally James Gunn didn't even think of doing so.
"A hundred percent, I started out thinking of him as full grown, and I didn't have him grow up," Gunn told ComicBook.com and assembled press at a set visit last spring. Groot was just going to start the film back to full size. "Then all of a sudden I thought, 'that's what [fans] would think [we] would do, and I really don't have to stick with that.'"
That's when he started to think about Baby Groot, having just grown out of the pot, ready for action despite his size.
"It could be baby Groot, and baby Groot is very different. He's a unique little fella, and he's pretty great in the movie even though he's not even [physically] there [on set]. But all the time Chris [Pratt, Star-Lord] is like 'G-d dammit, he's gonna steal the f***ing movie.' And it's nothing. It's nothing there, but he's funny even in the dailies we're watching. And we got the guy on a stick, and people are laughing!" Gunn said.
Baby Groot has a unique personality, as well, with a little more of a sting to his behavior - and a little less intelligence.
"There's something really cool about him, and he's funny in the movie. He's a little jerk too. He can kick some ass... he's also an idiot. He's a baby, he's not very smart," said the director.
Regardless, it looks like Baby Groot is going to be a highlight of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, modulated Vin Diesel voice and all.
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is written and directed by James Gunn (Slither). The film marks the return of the original Guardians, including Chris Pratt (Jurassic World) as Peter Quill/Star-Lord; Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) as Gamora; Dave Bautista (Spectre) as Drax; Vin Diesel (Furious 7) as the voice of Groot; Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) as the voice of Rocket; Michael Rooker (Jumper) as Yondu; Karen Gillan (The Big Short) as Nebula; and Sean Gunn (Gilmore Girls) as Kraglin. New cast members include Pom Klementieff (Oldboy), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, Everest), Chris Sullivan (The Knick, The Drop) and Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight, The Thing).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is scheduled to hit theaters on May 5, 2017.
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