James Gunn talks about how using Baby Groot wasn't the original plan
Unless you’ve been living under some sort of heavy, mineral-based material for the last week then you’re probably aware that Baby Groot in the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 trailer broke the world. Audiences were won over by the character’s adorableness and banter with Rocket (Bradley Cooper). Needless to say he will steal the show and all the money out of your wallets from all the merchandising that will surround the little guy. However, writer/director James Gunn said merchandising was not the reason for the inclusion of the pint-sized humanoid tree.
While responding to comments on Twitter that expressed some concern over Baby Groot's potential profitability, Gunn talked about why he included Baby Groot and not adult Groot like in the first film:
I’m sure some people think that but for me keeping him Baby Groot throughout the film was the creative change that opened the film up for me https://t.co/5PJTQZpSwB— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) December 10, 2016
He later took to Facebook to delve into the matter more, talking about how Baby Groot wasn't always the plan for the sequel, despite how much people loved the little guy dancing in a pot at the end of GUARDIANS one:
To be honest, when I was first working on the script for Vol. 2 I was planning on it being years after the first movie and for little Groot to be a grown Groot. But there was something missing. 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. Even though I had already long-ago-decided on the other characters involved, 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.
In fact, approaching Marvel with the idea terrified the man, and that's saying something given the line-up of characters this go-around:
When I approached Marvel Studios with my idea for Vol. 2 I was afraid of the involvement of Ego the Living Planet - a rather, uh, broad character in the 616 universe of Marvel Comics. I was afraid of the inclusion of Mantis and Ayesha, and more prominent roles for Nebula and Yondu. But I was even more afraid of approaching them with the concept that Baby Groot, and not Groot, would be a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Yes, perhaps it seems like a hole-in-one idea now, but Groot was the most popular character in the first film, and sometimes when something works studios are more than a little reluctant to change.
Gunn is right in saying Groot walked away as one of the more popular characters from the first film, but he's even more right in saying that Baby Groot seems like a no-brainer now. The character will win the day in a movie that looks like it has a lot going for it, at least being able to bring in a few laughs. But he makes the choice to include him seem more wise, as Baby Groot almost stands to symbolize the infancy of the group itself. Hmm, let me mull on this more in my tweed jacket and corncob pipe. Yes, this is thinking attire.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 arrives May 5.
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