James Gunn, never one to shy away from a little bit of fanservice, took to social media last week to remind fans that there was a shot cut from the first Guardians of the Galaxy which would have been inspired by "The Last Supper" and featured Groot in the center of the table. In the original painting by Leonardo da Vinci, Jesus sat in that seat, and the painting was meant to depict his last meal with his Apostles before his crucifixion at the hands of the Roman government. Besides Groot sitting in the Jesus spot, this shot would have seen Drax in the seat usually occupied by Judas Iscariot, the Apostle who betrayed Jesus.
Given that this scene took place on Knowhere, you could assume Drax's betrayal -- if his positioning was meant to mean anything deeper at all -- was summoning Ronan to Knowhere, which proved to be a pretty catastrophic blunder. Still, it did not directly contribute to Groot's death. Nevertheless, it's safe to assume that Groot being in the "Jesus seat" was meant to give attentive viewers a hint that the character would not make it out of the battle unscathed.
Gunn has shared the image before -- in 2017. Around the time of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, Gunn revealed that the shot had been cut from the film, and that it was not a cut scene, but rather a shot trimmed from a scene that appeared in the final cut.
"This was a shot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 that got cut from the movie and was never finished," Gunn explained at the time. "The great artists over at Framestore finished a frame and just gave it to me as a gift. Thanks, guys!" He added, "It was from the end of the scene where Drax is getting drunk and rooting on the F'saki chasing the Orloni."
You can see the image below.
The next year or so will be huge for the Guardians; Gunn recently completed production on Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, which is set for release in May. Between now and then, Gunn will unleash a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on the world, encouraging ever more comparisons to Star Wars. Disney+ also has an I Am Groot series of shorts planned, although Gunn will not personally direct those.
You can catch the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies under the Marvel tab on Disney+.