Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War!
A botanist and Guardians of the Galaxy fan has attempted to settle the debate over whether Baby Groot is Groot's son. Guardians director, James Gunn, turned the internet on its head when he explained to fans that Baby Groot isn't Groot reincarnated but rather Groot's son. The first Groot died in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1. His heroic sacrifice was, indeed, a sacrifice. The Groot that has continued to grow from Vol. 2 to Infinity War is brand new.
Gunn's revelation completely re-contextualized the Guardians of the Galaxy series and put Groot into a whole new light. It not only made the ending of Guardians Vol. 1 much more tragic, it also changed the group dynamics of the team as concerned with Baby Groot. It's not just a nickname, it's his status on the team. Baby Groot might not even remember the events of Guardians Vol. 1, let alone the adventures with Rocket that preceded the first movie. This is where botanist, James Wong, entered the picture and attempted to explain everything about Groot (and Baby Groot) with science.
Wong, who is also an author and UK television personality, started a Twitter thread that examined the life and death of Groot with real-world botanical facts. According to Wong, there's a couple possibilities for the biology of Groot. While they don't necessarily contradict Gunn's statement that Baby Groot is Groot's son, they do offer a lot more context.
THE BIOLOGY OF BABY GROOT. ⬇️— James Wong (@Botanygeek) May 7, 2018
Baby groot is created from a cutting of Groot, an ambulant alien plant who dies at the end of the 1st Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
Geeks are hotly debating whether he is a ‘son’ of Groot or just Groot living on.
Botanist to the rescue... pic.twitter.com/7NqKI65M9l
The most likely possibility, as Wong sees it, is that Baby Groot is akin to a clone of the original Groot. Plants retain their stem cells throughout their life. When Groot "dies" at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, all his genetic material is contained in the part of Groot that Rocket found and planted in a pot. This new Groot is less Groot's "son" and more his perfect genetic clone. If Groot is anything like normal plantlife, Baby Groot would be identical to the original Groot in every conceivable way. This includes having all of the original Groot's memories.
This explanation makes the most sense, even though it doesn't jive perfect with Gunn's view of Groot. The director has been pretty clear about Baby Groot being the son of Groot. The director has even doubled down on it by revealing Groot's last words before his death in Infinity War. At the end of the movie, Groot was wiped from existence by Thanos and it happened right in front of Rocket. Groot's final word as he turned to ash meant "Dad" according to Gunn.
This means that Groot views Rocket as a father. This doesn't fit much at all with Wong's theory that Groot is a perfect genetic clone of the original Groot. The original Groot and Rocket were much more equals than a father and son dynamic. If Baby (or Teen) Groot has all of the original Groot's memories, he's unlikely to see Rocket as any kind of father figure.
However, Wong has another possibility that does fit more with the son theory and Gunn's assertions. Wong believes that Baby Groot could've been created from the luminescent pollen, spores or seeds that Groot spreads towards the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1. This would either make Baby Groot a product of asexual reproduction by Groot, which also means Groot is more of a "they" or "them" than "he." Wong balks at the idea that Baby Groot should be called Groot's son, mostly because it's unlikely Groot has a gender. However, the pollen/spore/seed theory would make Baby Groot, Groot's offspring.
The bottom line is that Wong doesn't so much give an definitive explanation about Groot as just give some scientific basis for fan theories. Yet it's still gratifying to know wherever you personally fall on the biology of Baby Groot, there's scientific reasons for both. Baby Groot can be Groot reborn, and he can be Groot's offspring. Baby Groot is Schrodinger's Groot. It's whatever fans want to believe. Although it does seem like Guardians of the Galaxy mastermind James Gunn heavily favors the offspring theory.
Source: James Wong
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