It’s no secret that Groot stole the show when Guardians of the Galaxy debuted a few years back. The superhero space romp was praised by both fans and critics - and Groot had a lot to do with their interest. The humanoid alien may have had a limited vocabulary, but he still won over fans’ hearts. Moviegoers only fell more in love when Groot was turned into a small sapling by the film’s end, and a slew of toys confirmed the kind of popularity the hero wielded.
Now, James Gunn is speaking out about why he chose to keep Baby Groot around for the film’s sequel, and he stresses it had nothing to do with marketing ploys.
The director recently took to Facebook to talk about the surprising decision with fans. Gunn explained why he felt Baby Groot was necessary for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and his reason has a lot to do with the team’s dynamics.
“To be honest, when I was first working on the script for Vol. 2 I was planning on it being years after the first movie and for little Groot to be a grown Groot. But there was something missing. First of all, I thought there was a lot of development the group needed to go through as a group - and it would be a shame for the audience to miss it. And, secondly, for whatever reason, Groot just wasn't working,” he wrote.
“It was then I came upon the idea of having Vol. 2 take place very shortly after the first film and for Groot to still be Baby Groot, with quite a lot to learn. Even though I had already long-ago-decided on the other characters involved, this change opened up the whole movie for me and it suddenly all came together. I fell in love with the script for Vol. 2, and I felt like we were creating something very special.”
The director then explained that he was scared to pitch Baby Groot back to Marvel Studios since the original character was so popular. He said, “I was even more afraid of approaching them with the concept that Baby Groot, and not Groot, would be a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Yes, perhaps it seems like a hole-in-one idea now, but Groot was the most popular character in the first film, and sometimes when something works studios are more than a little reluctant to change.”
For Gunn, Baby Groot was a needed character not because of his cuteness but his ability to learn. The director stresses he understand why some fans may feel like Groot sold-out when he was turned into a baby, but Gunn said the hero didn’t undergo the transformation for toy sales.
“I’m not an idiot,” he wrote. “I knew if Baby Groot worked, the world would want Baby Groot toys and figures and plushies. But that certainly didn't seem like a certainty when I was alone in my office conceiving of a story, and it most definitely was not the driving force of the decision. I, like so many of you through the trailer alone, had fallen in love with the little dude - even though at that point he was only in my head.”
Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is scheduled to hit theaters on May 5, 2017.