Warning: SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War are ahead!
After two movies worth of shenanigans on their own, the Guardians of the Galaxy finally interacted with the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe earlier this year during Avengers: Infinity War. In Rocket Raccoon and Groot's case, they spent most of their time with Thor, though towards the end of the movie, the trio finally made it to Earth. Unfortunately, thanks to Thanos' snap of destruction, half of life in the universe was wiped out, and the only Guardians who made it out of Infinity War intact were Rocket and Nebula. In Rocket's case, he watched with horror as Groot disappeared before his eyes, and a new piece of fan art depicts everyone's favorite trash panda desperately trying to bring his friend back.
Ever since we saw the two of them staking out bounty targets on Xandar, it's been clear that Rocket and Groot shared a close bond. Sure, Groot may have publicly been known as Rocket's "muscle," but make no mistake, those two cared deeply about each other. And Rocket had already watched the original Groot sacrifice himself in Guardians of the Galaxy, so for him to see Groot Jr. fade away in Avengers: Infinity War was equally as heartbreaking... actually, arguably more so considering what the adolescent tree's final word was. As you can see in the above illustration from BossLogic, Rocket is putting Groot's ashes into a plant pot and trying to grow his fallen friend back, just like he did at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy. Unfortunately, I fear it's not going to work this time around, and that makes this artwork all the more devastating.
Although Avengers 4 is less than a year away, Marvel Studios is keeping tight-lipped on plot details concerning the superhero blockbuster. With the exception of Spider-Man, who has his sequel movie coming out two months after Avengers 4, we don't even know for sure yet if all of the characters who were erased by the power of the six Infinity Stones. That said, one could certainly make educated guesses as to who will return, and I'd like to think that before Avengers 4 is over, Rocket and Groot will be reunited. For now, though, expect Rocket to be without the walking and talking tree by his side when Avengers 4 begins, and knowing Rocket's temperamental personality, I suspect that when we meet back up with him, he's been getting into a lot of trouble to cope with the pain of losing his family, Groot especially.
Avengers 4 opens in theaters on May 3, 2019, and while we don't specifically what's in store for the Guardians of the Galaxy in the final Phase Three installment, there will at least be enough of them around by the end of the movie for a third standalone, cinematic adventure, as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is slated for release sometime in 2020. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates about the MCU, and don't forget to look through our Marvel movies guide to learn what other projects are in development.
Warning: spoilers ahead for Avengers: Infinity War! Read ahead at your own risk! Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Infinity War racks up an impressive body count over the run of its story.