The Marvel Cinematic Universe spent its first 11 years building the Infinity Saga, with all roads leading to a showdown with Thanos over the Infinity Stones. Now, the MCU is going down a much different path with the Multiverse Saga. The introduction of the multiverse allows for all sorts of different possibilities, including animated projects that take place within the MCU. What If...? and I Am Groot are likely just the beinning.
Marvel Studios animated producer Brad Winderbaum spoke with Variety about the newly-released I Am Groot shorts and opened up about what the Multiverse Saga means for the future of the studio's animated projects.
"I think what's amazing about the Multiverse Saga in particular is that you can go down so many more roads," Winderbaum said. "We've experimented at the studio for a long time about telling stories that take place in a linear fashion, but also going back in time, and being able to show how the MCU can blossom in the past. But what the multiverse does, it allows us to look at alternate paths and other takes on the characters, which is, of course, what happens in the comic books as different artists, different writers, different storytellers work with characters. You see them expanding and growing in unforeseen, unexpected ways. And that's something that is our guiding light as we make more animated projects."
Just because I Am Groot is technically connected to the feature films in the MCU doesn't mean that all of the Guardians of the Galaxy characters need to be consistently appearing in his Groot's stories. According to Winderbaum, part of the fun of making the show was thinking about what Groot did when no one was looking. That also helps explain how the series could connect to the rest of the franchise.
"It's fun to see what he does when nobody's looking," the producer explained. Like an actual kid, that's where he gets into the most trouble – when he's right outside the realm of parental eyes. That's part of the shorts you kind of identify with, or at least I do. You watch it and I remember what it was like to be a kid, and the other side of me is, 'Oh, that's what it's like to be a parent, watching a kid and worrying they're going to be doing something terrible.'"
All five I Am Groot shorts are streaming on Disney+.