In Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, Groot is a “better-written character in some ways,” according to the film’s director, James Gunn.
Guardians of the Galaxy hosts a bevy of stars in its cast, from America’s heartthrob Chris Pratt to a gorgeously green Zoe Saldana. But the unexpected breakout star of the movie isn’t even human.
Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel, won over the hearts of fans with his big, soulful puppy eyes and his innocent demeanor. Folks may have been surprised that a walking tree was a bigger hit than a jet-pack wearing raccoon or a, you know, gorgeously green Zoe Saldana. They’re certainly not alone — as the movie’s writer and director, James Gunn, explains in an interview with Comicbook online, Groot was often forgotten on set:
"The guy playing Groot was a stand-in on the last movie and so we just kind of always forgot he was there. He doesn’t talk very much, so you’re doing all these scenes and when we have the scenes in the movie where they turn to Groot and Groot’s like, ‘Why are you forgetting me?’ That’s really what we felt like while we were shooting the first film."
Spoilers: In the first movie, Groot ultimately sacrifices himself to save the other members of the rag-tag space pirate team. All hope isn’t lost, though — the movie ends with the debut of a tiny, adorable, dancing twig version of Groot. Turns out, plant-aliens are pretty good at regeneration.
While new Baby Groot sounds like a hoot, it is a bit silly to bash on the original Groot when he was one of the most successful parts of the first movie.
Gunn ultimately took to Twitter to clarify his comments:
As Gunn explains, there’s more new Groot in the sequel, and that new Groot is, in some ways, an improvement on the original character:
"But now everyone knows Groot so well that we have much larger awareness, me and the cast, of a Baby Groot being there at all times, and him being one of the members in the scene. […] I think he’s a better-written character than the first Groot in some ways. Not that he was poorly written at all, but I think he’s just [a] more complete character."
Vin Diesel teased what “better-written” might actually mean while promoting his film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk:
"I always think of the Groot that we saw on the first Guardians as a college-level Groot, so he’s not fully grown yet, but he’s a man. And once he sacrifices himself at the end of the movie, now he has to start all over, so to speak, but we’re gonna see this goofy, adorable, baby Groot thing running around the screen and just learning as he goes."
RIP Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 Groot indeed. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 comes out on May 5.