When it comes to sci-fi storytelling, there are rules. Not rules that every film has to abide by mind you, but rules that the storyteller must set in order for the story to have any sort of impact. When your story plays out without any hard and fast rules that give an internal logic to what’s happening, twists and beats can fall flat (see: The Cloverfield Paradox). So just because the story you’re telling involves a sentient tree and a talking raccoon doesn’t mean there aren’t very clear guidelines directing how everything works.
That’s the case with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, audiences were introduced to “Baby Groot.” The young version of the Vin Diesel-voiced character came about as a result of Groot’s sacrifice at the end of the first Guardians movie, after which Baby Groot sprouted up. But while many (myself included) assumed Baby Groot was just a younger version of the character we grew to love in the first Guardians, it turns out that’s not the case.
Answering a question on Twitter, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2 writer/director James Gunn revealed that Baby Groot is not the same Groot from the first movie, it’s his son:
First Groot is dead. Baby Groot is his son.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) February 27, 2018
This is somewhat surprising, but again this is a franchise that’s working on a very specific internal logic, and these rules govern the story choices that Gunn makes. So Gunn has decided that Groot’s sacrifice in Guardians was real—he didn’t come back, but instead one of his spores grew a new seed, which became Groot’s son.
That means when Groot returns in Guardians of the Galaxy 3, which will feature either Adolescent Groot or older, we may see a different personality to the character. That’s kind of exciting, and this revelation gives more weight to Groot’s death in the first Guardians movie.
And you thought you wouldn’t learn anything new today.