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The following contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. We will be discussing the end of the movie. So stop reading now if you do not want to hear how the movie ends. For real.
The family dynamic shared by the Guardians of the Galaxy is fluid. But it's also the core trait that separates them from the Avengers. While Earth's Mightiest Heroes are bound together by a duty to fight when the going gets tough. James Gunn's misfits spend more time ironing out emotional connections with parents (Ego, Yondu) and siblings than they do combating evil. So, when Gunn was asked online what Groot's final words to Rocket were in Avengers: Infinity War, the director introduced a wrinkle and revealed:
The deaths that come at the end of Avengers: Infinity War are shocking, and painful. After the wild success of Black Panther, no on expected T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) to fade to dust following the snap, and yet, there he goes. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) telling Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) that he doesn't' want to go was a gut punch. And then there was teenage Groot (Vin Diesel), saying "Dad" to Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) as he fades away into the unknown. Do you have tissues nearby? Do you want to go find one?
Groot calling Rocket dad as he fades away creates... confusion? I think if you asked Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who was the father figure of this version of Groot, he would say it's himself -- Star-Lord. In two different scenes, Peter is acting as a surrogate disciplinarian to Groot... usually telling him to turn off the video game that is glued to Groot's tree hands.
And yet, the push and pull between Quill and Rocket means that neither of them can rightfully lay claim to Groot's paternal status. When Thor (Chris Hemsworth) wants to know who is the captain of the ship, Quill and Rocket measure each other's... er, status. But Groot does go off on a mission with Rocket. And, of course, according to James Gunn, Groot calls Rocket "Dad" as he is fading away following Thanos' "balancing" snap.
Will any of this be able to be explored? Joe and Anthony Russo have been telling us that the deaths in Avengers: Infinity War are real, so the consequences of Thanos' victory should continue to be felt in Avengers 4. But we also know that a third Guardians of the Galaxy movie is in play, so James Gunn likely will be able to elaborate on the line that Groot was given to conclude Infinity War. Remember, Groot has died before. And he came back. Long live Groot. To stay up on the latest Marvel happenings, bookmark our MCU Portal Page, as it is LOADED with great Marvel information.