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Back in May, we were the first to report that the events in The Avengers: Infinity War are going to be set approximately four years after the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 -- with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige noting that the intergalactic team will have "evolved slightly" by the time we next catch up with them. Many took this to be a hint about Groot -- suggesting that he will no longer be Baby Groot when we next meet him -- and now we've taken that idea one step further: We can confirm that Adolescent Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's end credits will be the Groot that is featured in Avengers: Infinity War. Last week I had the following exchange with writer/director James Gunn:
Having seen the Infinity War footage at D23 and Comic-Con, Groot did look very similar to the way he looks in the post-credits scene...
James Gunn: He's exactly the same.
He is exactly the same.
James Gunn: That's exactly the Groot we designed for Infinity War.
So then that scene is set four years after...
James Gunn: Well, basically those are at the same time.
While the filmmaker did seem to balk a bit when I specified "four years," it is now on the record that we will see a third iteration of Groot when the character next appears in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I spoke with James Gunn last week during the Los Angeles press day for the Marvel movie's home video release, and it was while specifically discussing the life of Groot that we broached the subject of his age in Avengers: Infinity War. I'd been wondering about that aspect of the D23/San Diego Comic-Con footage for weeks, and found myself with a perfect opportunity to get confirmation.
So what do we know about Adolescent Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 end credits? For starters, we know he is a slob who doesn't really care to ever clean up his quarters. He's also revealed to be a big fan of video games, and has developed a rather sassy attitude (brought to life with plenty of angst by Vin Diesel). Of course, it is also noteworthy that he can now easily communicate with more than just Rocket, as Chris Pratt's Star-Lord seems to have learned his language.
As for my larger discussion about Groot with James Gunn, one of the questions I asked to kickstart the conversation was specifically about the tree alien's past, and whether or not his sacrifice in the first Guardians of the Galaxy was the first time he ever restarted his lifecycle. Gunn was hesitant to say anything on the record, acknowledging that it's material he would love to mine in future stories, but also explained that the character's history isn't really like anything that we experience in our own lives. Said Gunn,
Well, you know, it's complicated. I think you have to stick through future movies to find out exactly what the story of Groot is. I get a lot of questions, and the thing I say that bums people out more than anything else is that Baby Groot doesn't have the memories of Adult Groot. But it's complicated! His life is not like our lives... It's his aging, and Groots, where they come from and how they do their thing. It's pretty much worked out in my head, but we've only let out pieces of that.
There will certainly be plenty of time to explore the past and future of Groot, as the Guardians of the Galaxy series continues to be one of the strongest brands in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The team will next show up in both The Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4, and we can expect Groot to be back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 -- but beyond that the sky is the limit. Large supporting roles in other Marvel blockbusters are certainly on the table, not to mention the incredible potential for a solo/duo spin-off movie.
You can actually invite Groot back into your homes right now, as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is officially available for digital download, but the wait isn't long for hard copies. The 4K, 3D, Blu-ray and DVD editions of the Marvel Studios feature will be available on August 22nd. Stay tuned for that, as well as more from my interview with James Gunn!