Do you hate hats? Do you like dancing? Are tiny dinosaurs constantly picking fights with you? If so, congratulations, you are Baby Groot, or at the very least, you can relate to what it’s like to be the smallest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But do you really know all there is to know about this intergalactic wooden treasure?
Ever since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 first blew up the box office, it seems that there is no escaping this pint-sized tree. For good reason, he is adorably awesome and routinely the best part of the movie. Though, with having your barky face plastered all over everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs and Geico commercials, there seemingly is not much else to say, especially when you only really know three words. But just as there are a lot of strange facts you didn’t know about adult Groot, his tinier, more babyish self has far more going on then you could imagine. Because like cybernetic eye balls, Yondu’s underwear, random office furniture and a severed toe, you just never know what this little guy is going to reveal.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Baby Groot.
15. He Was Not Originally Supposed to Be in the Movie
Can you imagine a world without Baby Groot? Us either, it’s just not a place we want to live in. But terrifyingly, we all almost had to endure a Baby Groot-less existence. When director James Gunn was writing the sequel, he planned on it taking place several years after the first, with a fully grown Groot back in action. Fortunately for the rest us, something just didn’t seem right:
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. 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.
So Gunn altered the timeframe of the film and the rest is Baby Groot history…
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.
And that something special was an adorably tiny tree who occasionally wears miniaturized space-pirate outfits. So for all those who thought Baby Groot was nothing more than a clever marketing ploy to sell toys, t-shirts and Mr. Potato Heads, shame on you. Baby Groot would never sell-out.
14. A Life-Size Model of Baby Groot Was Built for Filming
Few have the commanding on-set presence of Baby Groot. Quite the achievement for someone who is only 10 inches tall. Even more impressive? Like Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, he never actually showed up for work. That’s because all his scenes were created in post with CGI and special camera rigs that captured his perspective during shooting. But that doesn’t mean his fellow actors were talking to an invisible tiny tree on-set.
With both Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt towering above Baby Groot at over six feet apiece, the filmmakers had a particularly challenging time framing out their Groot-centric shots. To make things easier, prop master Russell Bobbitt sculpted a 1:1 scale model of Baby Groot to use for filming. He would even occasionally puppeteer the model to give the actors someone to interact with, which just seems like the best job ever. “Hey Rus, what’d you do today at work?” “Oh not much, just pretended to be Baby Groot all day.”
13. His Look is Based on Real-Life Human Kids
There is no denying when you look at Baby Groot that he’s an adorable, cute baby. Puffy cheeks, toddler pot-belly, stocky limbs, oversized head — all the signs are there, only petrified. These anthropomorphized characteristics are probably one of the reasons we find him so endearing. Because who wouldn’t want to be the proud parent of Baby Groot? Amazingly, enough that one person can actually make that claim.
To get just the right feel for Baby Groot’s look, concept artist Anthony Francisco drew upon his own children for help. As he shared on Facebook:
‘GOTG Vol.2’ was all about family and this character is so close to my heart because my kids were the inspiration that helped me in finding the design. And my son is much like baby groot, he is a handful but always cute and adorable.
12. He Has His Own Special Script
If there’s one thing the galaxy should know by now, it’s not to underestimate a Baby Groot. Take his vocabulistics, for example. If you thought this sentient sapling only knew three words, think again. Turns out that there is a whole world of meaning to read between the lines of each and every “I am Groot.”
To help Vin Diesel capture just the right inflection for each of Baby Groot’s scenes, James Gunn wrote a “Groot Version” of the script just for the two of them. In it, every one of Baby Groot’s lines is translated into English to show exactly what the little guy was saying, such as when he gleefully ran off with Rocket’s death button. All and all, he utters his famous line 17 times during the film, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation. But really, what more is there to say? As far as we’re concerned, “I am Groot” suits every occasion just fine.
11. Baby Groot Speaks Sixteen Languages
Vin Diesel famously recorded the voice of Groot 1,000 times in six different languages for the first film (then added another 9 when it was released on DVD). For the Guardians’ second go around, Diesel upped his vocabulistics game by saying “I am Groot” in sixteen foreign-languages.
Despite the added work, Diesel was all for it:
It means that my voice is being heard in countries where that’s not always the case… It’s usually voice actors in respective markets that say your lines and that’s not necessarily what the character is always. So, I love that, but it definitely makes it that much more challenging.
10. Baby Groot’s Voice is the Unedited Baby Talk of Vin Diesel
When we think adorable baby voices, naturally we think of Vin Diesel. That’s why it only made sense that the Fast and the Furious star would reprise his role from the film as Groot. But while Diesel’s distinctive mumble growls and deep-tone lent itself well to the wooden vocalizations of adult Groot, you wouldn’t think they would have the same fit for a tree baby. But apparently, there’s a much softer side to Vin’s voice than we ever realized.
Leading up to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the one question director James Gunn got asked more than any other was, ”Who would voice Baby Groot?” Much to everyone’s delight and confusion, Gunn revealed that Diesel would reprise his role, only without his trademark gruffy intonation. Even more mind-boggling was the fact Gunn later went on record as saying that they did very little tweaking to Vin’s vocal performance in post-production, meaning what you hear on screen is almost 100% the childlike voice of a 49-year old grown man. Apparently, on top of driving really fast and fighting aliens in the dark, Vin can also do a spot-on baby talk, high-register and all. Who knew? Anyone that’s ever heard the man do karaoke, that’s who.
9. James Gunn Did the Baby Groot Dance (Again)
Vin Diesel may be the voice of Groot, but James Gunn has got his moves. It is well known by now that when Groot got down to the sounds of The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back during the credits of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, it was actually James Gunn waving those arms around. The Motown boogie was animated using footage he had captured while dancing privately to the song. In case you don’t believe it, Gunn has since given us a glimpse of his skills.
Given the global sensation having Groot bust-a-move caused, it was a given that he would return to form for the sequel. But whereas we got just a tease of a grooving Groot the first time around, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 wasted no time in opening with an epic routine to rock our socks off, all to the tune of Electric Light Orchestra’s Mr. Blue Sky. And once again, we have James Gunn to thank for making our dreams come true, as he served as the motion-capture model for Groot’s hip action. Even though the routine was similarly choreographed behind close doors, Gunn has released a snippet (make that snippets) of his performance. However, far more went into Groot’s adorable dance than just one-man dancing alone in a room. In fact, the CG rendering of this one scene took the visual effects team nearly two years to complete.
8. He Has No Memories of His Old Self
One of Groot’s many, many awesome superpowers, along with killing space clowns and flying through space, is that he can regenerate himself from the smallest shards of his trunk. A mere potted branch will do the trick, as we saw at the end of the first film. Which is great news, because it basically means he’s basically immortal and won’t be leaving us anytime soon. But as fate would have it, Groot loses a lot more than his size when he regrows back to life.
When asked how Baby Groot compares to his adult-sized counterpart, James Gunn stated that he has lost all memory of his previous self, and for all intents and purposes, he is now an entirely different creature. Which is incredibly sad when you think about it, because that means the original Groot did actually die at the end of the first film. This differs greatly from the comics, where each time he gets blown to bits, Groot is reborn with all of his original memories, mannerisms, and abilities, as if nothing had happened at all. Though, you can kind of see why Gunn went his route, since in today’s day and age of characters haphazardly dying only for it be reversed panels later, it makes this petrified superhero’s sacrifice all the more meaningful.
7. He Was a Dancing Ambassador for Earth Day
Nothing says conservation more than dancing like a baby tree. Which is why making our sentient stomp-hopping friend the good-will floral ambassador of Earth Day is such a good fit. Prior to the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel teamed up with the Disney Conservation Fund and Nature Conservancy to make the world a better, greener, more Grootier place. And also get a lot of people dancing.
The promotion, co-led by dancer D-Trix and the tiny hero himself, asked fans to move like Baby Groot behind people without their knowing and then post videos of it using #GrootDanceBomb. For every post, share, and like using the hashtag, Marvel made a $1 donation to plant a tree. When all was said and done, 250,000 new trees were kicking it across the planet. Suck on that, Drax.
6. You Can Make Your Own Baby Groot
No, we’re not talking about having sex with a tree. That would be gross and disturbing, and probably land you in jail. This, on the other hand, will make you the envy of all your friends. That’s because there are plenty of socially acceptable ways to create your very own Baby Groot.
Over on the blog Twinkie Chan!, there’s a thorough instructions on how to crotchet a potted Baby Groot. If needle-work isn’t your thing, then how about you grab some polymer clay and get to molding. You can even upgrade you sculpture to a dancing Baby Groot by using one of those annoying Movin’ and Groovin’ Dancing Flower toys. For all those with a spare 3-D printer hanging around, why not print your own life-size model or turn his head into a flower pot. And for anyone whose had a strong desire to eat Baby Groot, you can bake a Baby Groot cake. Or you could just save your self a crap load of time and buy a Baby Groot. There’s only about a gazillion trintillian different Baby Groot-related products out there to choose from.
5. He Didn’t Originally Appear in the Comics, But Tiny Groot Did
As any Groot aficionado would know, the “Monarch from Planet X” first appeared in 1960’s Tales to Astonish #13. He started off as a villainous tree monster terrorizing small American towns and the dreams of Peter Parker, but would eventually grow into the big-hearted Flora Colossus we all know and love today. Though even then, there are several differences from the comics that you won’t see up onscreen.
For one, he could talk, and he talked a lot. In fact, Groot wouldn’t shut up in his early days as a Guardian. But his teammates overlooked his annoying verbosity on account of his consistently sacrificing himself for their well-being. In his very first mission with them, Groot went kamikaze to save the day and was blown to bits. He would subsequently “die” several more times, but each time be reborn from a twig offshoot. Though unlike in the movies, he didn’t go through the stages of development we currently see the hero growing into. Instead, he was exactly the same bombastic character, just much tinier. It wasn’t until James Gunn came along that the world got the Baby Groot it never knew it always wanted.
4. Before Baby Groot, There Was Sapling Groot
In 2015, adult Groot finally got his own solo comic, aptly-titled Groot. The series sadly only lasted six issues, but contained several memorable moments like when the entirety of the Marvelverse gets turned into Groot lookalikes. One other event worth noting came in issue four, when our hero gets terrorized by some space pirates. But instead of getting dosed with booze and forced to wear small clothes like he does in GotG 2, this time around, they just set him on fire.
Per usual, Groot survives his incineration. However, unlike previously when he merely regrew as a miniaturized version of his bigger self, on this occasion he came back with a more youthful appearance. Referred to as “Sapling Groot,” the character may have appeared infantile, but he did not have the personality to match, and he was still the same exact adult-like character. But it was still fun to see a Baby(ish) Groot get payback on the pirates by systematically destroying them all with the skills of a little tiny tree ninja.
3. He Now Stars in His Own Comic
Are you worried Baby Groot is growing up too fast? By the end of Vol. 2, he’s not longer even a baby, just some bratty, teen-aged twig playing video games and shirking all responsibility. Alas, our time together with Baby Groot was far too short. But, wait! Feat not! There is just too much money to be had from his adorable, pudgy-barked antics.
Baby Groot may have been created just for the movies, but it was only a matter of time before he made his way to comics. Not wanting to see him grow up just like the rest, Marvel is jumping on the Baby Groot bandwagon by releasing the character’s own ongoing series, I Am Groot. Taking a cue from his larger form’s own solo comic, the stories will feature lighthearted fare guaranteed to make you forget the inevitability of tree puberty.
2. His Solo Adventures Were Inspired by Zelda
It’s safe to say that we are all in agreement that Baby Groot needs to get his own movie. It just makes sense on every level. Apparently, Vin Diesel and James Gunn have even discussed a spin-off, though there is no indication if such a momentous event did occur which iteration (adult, baby, or teen) would appear on the screen. One thing is for sure, despite his limited speech, a Groot-centric movie could definitely work.
I started thinking about the Zelda games that Link doesn’t talk in, and why they manage to have such rich worlds and stories all the same, how to take something like that mute first person character experience and translate it into a comic.
So if all those dungeons, triangles, and Skull Kids are any indiction, Baby Groot’s monosyllabic solo adventures will be addictively fun.
1. He’s Not Technically a Baby
In the comics, when Groot returns to a seedling, it can take as little as two hours for him to grow to his normal size. In the movies, while he does similarly grow at an accelerated rate, it takes a little bit longer. Since the sequel takes place two months after the first film (in 2014), and the fact that he is talking in full three-worded sentences, Baby Groot is probably the equivalent of 3-years old. Given that, the proper terminology around the back offices of Marvel and Disney (so they can correctly categorize their merchandise presumably) is to call the potted character from the end of the first film “Baby Groot” and designate the one that appears in Vol. 2 as “Toddler Groot.”
This differentiation kind of makes sense, since the term “toddler” more specifically designates someone around 3 or 4-years old, a period involving major cognitive, emotional, and social development. While these traits certainly fit Groot to a tee, who cares about technicalities? Toddler Groot just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Baby Groot.
Know any other amazing facts? Or maybe you just want to talk about how much you love Baby Groot. Regardless, share with us in the comments.