WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Infinity Countdown #1
After years of saying only "I Am Groot," the Guardian of the Galaxy can finally talk in Marvel's Comic Universe. The life-changing transformation comes in the pages of Infinity Countdown #1, where the walking, sapient tree finally gains the ability to verbally communicate without using his trademark phrase. It's a big change for a character who has only uttered the same three words since he was reintroduced with the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comic books of the 2000s.
The version of Groot that fans know best today was created in 2006, before being adapted to the big screen in 2014 (with his singular phrase delivered by Vin Diesel). Although Groot had a limited vocabulary of three words, the tree-like hero became one of the most beloved characters in the entire Marvel movie universe. Even death couldn't stop him, as following his death, Baby Groot—who James Gunn says is Groot's 'son'—became the breakout star of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Just imagine if the Marvel films follow the same twist as the comic, and give Groot the ability to speak... maybe not the best idea, since it will be a teenage version of Groot in Avengers: Infinity War.
In the comics, Groot was recently shattered and reduced to his sapling form, similar to the version seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. In Infinity Countdown #1, the Guardians were caught in a battle with the Gardener, Groot's creator and one of the Elders of the Universe. Baby Groot used his plant powers to attack the Gardener, and revealed that the Elder had been "poisoned" by Loki. Once cured by Groot (ever the hero), the Gardener repays the favor by restoring Groot to his full growth.
To the shock of the other Guardians present, Groot begins to speak normally, in complete sentences, and in third-person. Even more mysteriously, the Gardener says that Groot is now the same as he was at "the beginning of [his] tale"...
It could be that Marvel is acknowledging Groot's earliest history in the comics. Groot was originally imagined as a villain when he first appeared in Tales to Astonish #13. During his early years, Groot could even talk in normal sentences (mainly bragging about the destruction he was wreaking). It wasn't until decades later that Marvel reinvented Groot as a lovable hero of comically few words
Though the change at least appears to be permanent, it remains to be seen if it will actually stick, considering how much fans love the traditional version of Groot. If it lasts, it's possible that we'll see some extent of Groot's new transformation or his history in a coming film. It should be noted that if Marvel were to adapt this story twist involving Groot's creator into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the Gardener would be the MCU's fourth Elder of the Universe to make the jump, and could tie into the backstory of two Elder brothers, the the Grandmaster and the Collector.
Who will win out in the MCU: the fans of Groot's slim dialogue, or those hoping to hear Vin Diesel start exploring the character?
Infinity Countdown #1 is on sale now from Marvel.