James Gunn Just Broke Everyone’s Heart: ‘Groot Is Dead’

“Baby Groot is his son,” tweets “Guardians of the Galaxy” director

Last Updated: February 27, 2018 @ 1:05 PM

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies just had their hearts broken: Groot is dead, according to writer-director James Gunn.

That is to say, the original Groot, from the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” died in that film. Baby Groot, the tiny sentient plant that’s also called Groot — and also voiced by Vin Diesel — a major character in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” is not the original person regrowing his body from a smaller piece — rather, he is the original Groot’s son, Gunn clarified in a series of Tuesday tweets.

Gunn confirmed the character death in a Twitter conversation with fans and Entertainment Tonight Now host Ash Crossan, possibly clearing up an element that continues to flummox fans. In the first “Guardian” film, Groot sacrifices himself to protect his friends, but the stinger in the film shows Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) potting one of Groot’s twigs. That twig grows into Baby Groot.

Fans would be forgiven for thinking Groot and Baby Groot are two versions of the same person — after all, both still communicate solely with the phrase, “I am Groot.” In fact, this isn’t the first time Gunn has specified that Groot and Baby Groot are two different characters, previously explaining that the pair don’t share memories. That’s also in keeping with Gunn’s opinions on bringing back characters from the dead. He has publicly said on Twitter and Facebook that he hates when stories undercut their characters by bringing them back from the dead, after something like a heroic sacrifice. Gunn was talking about Yondu (Michael Rooker), the “Guardians” character who dies to save Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) in the second movie, but the same logic would apply to Groot’s sacrifice in the first film.

Gunn’s not the only one with an opinion on the matter, though. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said at San Diego International Comic-Con in 2016, before “Guardians 2” came out, that Baby Groot looks like a baby, but he isn’t one mentally — he’s still Groot.

But now, it appears, Gunn has put the final nail in original Groot’s coffin.

It’s worth noting that his whole Groot situation spun off from Crossan’s retweet of a particular fandom moral quandary: If Baby Groot and one of the bird-like porgs from “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” were both in danger, but you could save only one, which would you choose?

Gunn’s answer was that Groot, being an intelligent lifeform (as well as the last known member of his species) rates higher than a porg.

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