The movie had a talking raccoon, an alien assassin, a goofy space scavenger and an extra-terrestrial brute, but it was a humanoid plant with a vocabulary of three words that emerged as the breakout star. It’s hardly surprising, then, that all eyes are on the junior version of Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, which will be released in India on May 5.
Groot was voiced by action star Vin Diesel in the 2014 production. Groot sacrificed himself at the end of the first part, but a sapling survived and has now grown up slightly into a more mischievous version of his previous self in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Diesel continues to voice the character.
Groot was such a hit that two weeks after the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, producer Marvel Studios released a range of toys featuring the linguistically challenged tree and a standalone post-credits scene of Baby Groot. Somewhere between watching the sapling dance along to Jackson 5’s I Want You Back and Vin Diesel’s remarks of a possible spinoff movie, the message was clear: the sentient plant was a clear winner.
Baby Groot is an infant-like wooden stump with seemingly no memory of his previous life. The roles have been reversed since the previous film, in which Groot was the sweet, protective caretaker of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper). Apart from protecting the galaxy, the guardians must now act as Baby Groot’s surrogate parents. Family matters are top of the mind in the sequel, which explores the back story of the half-human and half-alien Star-Lord Peter Quill.
The director of both the movies, James Gunn, struggled to fit Groot into the sequel before realising that the ankle-high version opened more avenues for the storyline. “Even though I had already long ago decided on the other characters involved, this change opened up the whole movie for me and it suddenly all came together,” he said in a Facebook post.
“Now everyone knows Groot so well that we have much larger awareness, me and the cast, of a baby Groot being there at all times,” Gunn added in an interview. “And him being one of the members in the scene… I think he’s a better-written character than the first Groot in some ways.”
The development certainly complicated the relationship between Groot and Rocket, a notoriously lonesome creature with only the talking plant as his true friend. With Groot’s memories gone, what happens to the duo’s dynamic?
Among the returning members of the cast are Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, the witty blue-skinned pirate who tolerates Peter Quill’s antics, and Karen Gillan as Nebula, Gamora’s wholly unreliable half-sister.
Chris Sullivan plays Taserface, a member of the gang of smugglers known as the Ravagers; Kurt Russell is Ego, who has a mysterious connection with Peter Quill; Sylvester Stallone is a Ravager who has a bone to pick with Yondu. A third movie is already in the works, in which Groot will be an antsy teenager. Will his vocabulary finally expand?