James Gunn On Why He Was Afraid to Approach Marvel With Baby Groot in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
It seems like every Guardian of the Galaxy fan loves Baby Groot! It was a blast seeing him in action in the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but director James Gunn was actually really afraid to approach Marvel with the idea of using Baby Groot in the sequel. In a Facebook post, the director explains how he wasn't sure if Marvel would embrace such a big change for a popular character. He also explains that Baby Groot isn't just about selling cute Marvel merchandise to fans. Baby Groot was very important to Gunn and the story he wanted to tell in the sequel.
"To be honest, when I was first working on the script for Vol. 2 I was planning on it being years after the first movie and for little Groot to be a grown Groot. But there was something missing. First of all, I thought there was a lot of development the group needed to go through as a group - and it would be a shame for the audience to miss it. And, secondly, for whatever reason, Groot just wasn't working. It was then I came upon the idea of having Vol. 2 take place very shortly after the first film and for Groot to still be Baby Groot, with quite a lot to learn. 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. I fell in love with the script for Vol. 2, and I felt like we were creating something very special.
"When I approached Marvel Studios with my idea for Vol. 2 I was afraid of the involvement of Ego the Living Planet - a rather, uh, broad character in the 616 universe of Marvel Comics. I was afraid of the inclusion of Mantis and Ayesha, and more prominent roles for Nebula and Yondu. But I was even more afraid of approaching them with the concept that Baby Groot, and not Groot, would be a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Yes, perhaps it seems like a hole-in-one idea now, but Groot was the most popular character in the first film, and sometimes when something works studios are more than a little reluctant to change.
"To my happy surprise, my partners at Marvel were more than supportive about the big swings in the story of Vol. 2. They seemed to instinctively know, like I did, that what matters in the Guardians franchise is to keep giving people the unexpected...
"All that said, I'm not an idiot. I knew if Baby Groot worked, the world would want Baby Groot toys and figures and plushies. But that certainly didn't seem like a certainty when I was alone in my office conceiving of a story, and it most definitely was not the driving force of the decision. I, like so many of you through the trailer alone, had fallen in love with the little dude - even though at that point he was only in my head."
There's no doubt that Baby Groot is going to be one of those scene-stealing characters fans will love. As a bonus, I included some official high-resolution photos from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that you can check out below. The movie hits theaters on May 5th, 2017!