One of the most anticipated Phase 3 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the sequel to the surprise breakout 2014 hit Guardians of the Galaxy. In a short amount of time, the property went from obscure comic title to a worldwide blockbuster franchise that's just as marketable as The Avengers. Fans can't wait to see the team back on the big screen, and the material Marvel showed in Hall H during San Diego Comic-Con 2016 promised another fun romp through the cosmos with the unlikely band of heroes.
Even though Vol. 2 will feature a collection of new characters (including legend Kurt Russell as Ego the Living Planet), it's one of the returning faces who's poised to be the breakout star. Following his self-sacrifice in the original, Groot is back as the adorable Baby Groot, a toddler-sized sprout that can stand comfortably on Rocket Raccoon's shoulder in action sequences. As one would expect, there have been many questions about Baby Groot, including his voice and whether or not he'll retain Adult Groot's memories. On the latter, Gunn had some news that will surely break the hearts of moviegoers.
During one of his famed Facebook Q&A sessions (hat tip Screen Crush), Gunn covered some frequently asked questions about the upcoming movie. When asked directly how Baby Groot compares to the version from the first installment, the director was short and frank when addressing the character's memories:
Is baby Groot the same as Groot, or Groot’s son?
Gunn: It’s complicated.
Does he have Groot’s memories?
Those who have been following Guardians 2 news know that Gunn's response somewhat conflicts with a statement made by Kevin Feige at Comic-Con, in which the Marvel boss said, "He remembers. He's not mentally a baby, he's still Groot." Although, it's worth pointing out that Feige compared Baby Groot to Spock at the conclusion of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, where after being resurrected, the Vulcan's memories were fragmented. It's possible that Gunn is doing something similar for his film, and part of Groot's arc will be realizing who he is. However, Gunn's answer to the query could not have been more brief, so it's difficult to say for sure.
In the event Baby Groot truly is starting from scratch, it's an emotionally devastating development that makes his death scene in the first Guardians all the more impactful. While not obvious, there are clues in the original that hint Groot wouldn't be the same after his sacrifice. Shortly before his companion proclaimed "We are Groot," Rocket kept asking why Groot was doing this, as if he knew what would happen. Additionally, he didn't seem all that shocked when the sentient tree started to grow back, so maybe this is something Groot has been through before. That would be an interesting development and give their dynamic a sense of tragedy.
Hopefully, this matter is cleared up in the near future. It's expected that the first official Vol. 2 trailer will be released in conjunction with Marvel's Doctor Strange. There are arguably more pertinent plot points to cover in marketing, but it would be nice if Baby Groot is detailed in some way, allowing fans to better understand his makeup. Regardless, the character is poised to become a fan-favorite, and Baby Groot toys will be selling like hot cakes next summer.
Doctor Strange opens in U.S. theaters on November 4, 2016, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2– May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018;Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
Source: James Gunn (via Screen Crush)