‘Guardians of the Galaxy’: James Gunn on How Baby Groot Became ‘Swoll Groot’

Marvel director wanted to make this Groot “stockier” and “more outgoing” than his father was back in 2014

Groot Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Since the sacrifice of the original Groot in the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Marvel fans have seen the new Groot grow over the past eight years. Now, in the “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” on Disney+, Baby Groot is all grown up, and writer-director — and new DC Studios chief — James Gunn took to Twitter recently to talk about that transformation.

Gunn said he wanted to set the current Groot apart now that he is the same size as his “father” was in the 2014 original. While the first Groot was a quiet foil to his brash companion Rocket when he wasn’t fighting, the current Groot was shown as a precocious child in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and the recent “I Am Groot” Disney+ shorts and was a surly teenager in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

“YA Groot, or Swoll Groot, as we call him, is getting bigger, outward as well as upward. As you can see by now he has a different, stockier physiology (and a more outgoing personality) than his father did,” Gunn tweeted.

Gunn also credited the VFX teams at Framestore and Weta Digital for bringing the new Groot to life in the holiday special, combining the bulk and strength of the fully grown tree alien with the smooth face that “Swoll Groot” had in his younger years.

Serving as both a Christmas special and a prologue of sorts to “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which comes out in May, “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” sees Groot and the other Guardians try to throw a Christmas party to cheer up Peter Quill, who is still mourning the loss of Gamora after “Avengers: Infinity War.” Though they have no idea how the Earth holiday works, the Guardians decide to give Quill the best gift they can think of: the legendary hero Kevin Bacon.

“The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” is now streaming on Disney+.