Despite what some may believe, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director James Gunn insists Baby Groot is not a ploy to sell more Marvel merchandise.
Responding to a fan inquiry on Twitter, Gunn wrote, “I’m sure some people think that but for me keeping him Baby Groot throughout the film was the creative change that opened the film up for me. I was less confident the studio was going to buy in on Baby Groot than I was they were going to buy in on Ego the Living Planet” — the latter being Kurt Russell’s character and Star-Lord’s father.
He further explained that “because adult Groot was the most popular character from the first film,” he didn’t think Marvel would “want to risk a good thing” by transforming him into Baby Groot. Gunn explained adult Groot “was pretty evolved spiritually,” while “Baby Groot has a lot to learn.”
“I like how he brought out new aspects of our other characters,” he added.
It’s a move that’s already paying off. Baby Groot stole the show in the latest Guardians of the Galaxy,Vol. 2 trailer, which broke a Marvel record with 81 million views over the first 24 hours of release — the biggest trailer debut for a Marvel film and the second biggest for Disney (behind last month’s Beauty and the Beast trailer).
You can see plenty more of Baby Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel, and his intergalactic shenanigans when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens on May 5, 2017.