Is I Am Groot MCU Canon? Filmmakers Debate

I Am Groot is now available on Disney+ in all five of its short episode glory, and it has viewers asking one big question: is this MCU canon? In the article below and video above, we look at all of the statements and facts around the latest entry to the MCU because, yes, it is said to be canon to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but that is also something which changes depending on who you ask. Be sure to subscribe to the Phase Zero YouTube channel through the video above for more exclusive insights and content surrounding Marvel Studios titles!

"It takes place actually between the end of Guardians 2 and before the tag scene in Guardians 2," I Am Groot executive producer Brad Winderbaum told ahead of the show's release. "So it's in this narrow window where grew in that kind of post toddler stage of development. And it was something that really excited, James."

Given that I Am Groot sees the Benetar ship in the background of one episode, it does fit in the timeline after the Milano ship was destroyed and before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's credits scene where Groot is in an adolescent stage. However, one scene must be taking place before Guardians Vol. 2 altogether; the episode where Groot learns to walk.

It was cute to watch Groot sprout some legs as he wrecked a bonsai tree but Groot was already walking on those two legs when Guardians 2 started and he was dancing around, contradicting Winderbaum's statement. This makes the one particular episode of I Am Groot set between the events of Guardians of the Galaxy's ending where a new Groot grew in a pot and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 where Groot could walk and started the movie with a dance. 

"That opening sequence when he's dancing and they're all fighting and everything, incredible, very inspirational for the series," I Am Groot director Kirsten Lepore told ComicBook,com. Lepore met with Guardians director James Gunn to work on the series to get the character right. Still, Gunn himself seems to believe these Groot stories are not canon to the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy stories. Gunn said in an Instagram Q&A, "Some folks at Marvel seem to think it's canonically MCU. I find that hard to see myself." 

On one hand, Gunn introduced Groot and oversees his stories in the Guardians films so he would know. On the other, Winderbaum is basically a hand of the king, Kevin Feige, as the head of streaming and an executive producer on I Am Groot. Ultimately, it seems inconsequential to both I Am Groot and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies to rule on its place in the canon one way or the other, though the filmmakers do intend it to be considered part of the larger story. 

What do you think? Is the animated series I Am Groot MCU canon, or is it like What If...?, Spider-Man: Freshman Year, X-Men '97, and all of the other animated shows which are set in a different universe? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Twitter. Subscribe to the Phase Zero YouTube channel for more updates like this one!