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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always thrived by paying homage to iconic films and classic genres. From the political thriller influences of Captain America: The Winter Soldier to the buddy cop stylings of Iron Man 3, MCU films regularly pay homage in ways that true movie fans love to pick up on. Few movies embody that idea quite like James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, and now the director has taken to social media to confirm a notable connection between Groot (Vin Diesel) and James Whale's Frankenstein in the scene from the first Guardians movie where the walking tree gives a young girl a flower. Gunn wrote:
The inspiration for Groot giving the little girl the flower in GotG Vol 1, only without Groot murdering her afterwards. These James Whale movies are so magical and I hope kids still watch them.
If you thought that scene looked familiar, then this should help explain why. The scene in the original Guardians of the Galaxy involves Groot leaning down to hand a little girl a flower, and it directly mirrors the sequence from James Whale's Frankenstein in which Frankenstein's monster plays with a young girl by a lake. Of course, Gunn also made sure to note in his tweet that he wanted to have a happier ending for this particular encounter, as the scene in Frankenstein ends with the monster killing the girl.
Check out the original Frankenstein scene, below, to see how it compares with the Groot scene from Guardians of the Galaxy.
The influence of Frankenstein on James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy actually makes quite a bit of sense, particularly when we consider the filmmaker's roots in the horror genre. Prior to entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Gunn spent quite a bit of time working on the scary side of the film industry, directing films like Slither, and writing Zack Snyder's 2004 zombie hit Dawn of the Dead. Moreover, the connections to Frankenstein don't necessarily stop with Groot, as Rocket Raccoon's origin story is arguably very close to the classic Mary Shelley monster.
Warning: massive spoilers ahead for Avengers: Infinity War! Read ahead at your own risk!
Now we're left to wonder what the future may hold for Groot as the Marvel Cinematic Universe presses forward. The plant-like hero is one of many fan-favorite MCU heroes to fade away when Thanos (Josh Brolin) snaps his fingers and uses the Infinity Stones at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, and his death is one of the most heart wrenching as Rocket helplessly watches him disappear. We still have no idea if the character will return to survive the events of Avengers 4, but this reveal by James Gunn serves as a clear reminder that Groot is one of the kindest and most innocent heroes on the Marvel roster.
End of Infinity War spoilers.