Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the first of three Marvel Cinematic Universe films slated to reach theaters in 2017; in addition to being the first ‘Phase 3′ Marvel Studios installment that takes place fully on the cosmic side of the MCU. James Gunn’s sequel to his own hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, also features a handful of important new additions to the MCU (including, Pom Klementieff as potential future Guardian Mantis and Kurt Russell as Star-Lord’s father, Ego the Living Planet), as well as a ‘new version’ of an old friend, in Baby Groot.
Groot, of course, sacrificed himself while protecting his friends in Guardians of the Galaxy – though he was thereafter ‘reborn’ as Baby Groot. It’s not altogether clear how much Baby Groot remembers from his life as Groot though, what with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige having likened Baby Groot to a reborn Spock in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Gunn having answered “No,” when he was asked if Baby Groot has Groot’s memories. Vin Diesel, who voiced Groot and is lending his voice to Baby Groot too, has now emphasized the whatever Baby Groot may or may not remember, he’s certainly less experienced (and knowledgable about the galaxy in general) than his adult counterpart.
Diesel, when he spoke with Collider while promoting the upcoming Ang Lee film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (which Diesel costars in), offered the following answer when asked if (size aside) there is a significant difference between Groot and Baby Groot:
“Yeah, there is a difference. He couldn’t be more naive as Baby Groot. I always think of the Groot that we saw on the first Guardians as a college-level Groot, so he’s not fully grown yet, but he’s a man. And once he sacrifices himself at the end of the movie, now he has to start all over, so to speak, but we’re gonna see this goofy, adorable, baby Groot thing running around the screen and just learning as he goes.”
One of the scenes featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sizzle reel screened at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con offered a taste of Baby Groot’s inexperience during the movie – suggesting that it and Groot’s related change in appearance alike will be effectively mined for comedy gold during the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. Diesel will also be changing up his usual vocal performance style in order to provide Baby Groot with a distinct voice of his own; and as the actor discussed with Collider, he’s going to be recording his dialogue for the Guardians sequel in even more languages than he did for the first installment in the series:
“I think people are gonna love this movie. I think people are gonna love Guardians. I know that, on the first one, I, like, recorded six different languages, and now James Gunn wants to increase the number of languages we do this in. So, every ADR-ed line, every moment in the movie I have to do like 15, 16 times in different languages — which are cool because, you know, it means that my voice is being heard in countries where that’s not always the case, even with big movies that you do, like xXx or Fast [& Furious]. It’s usually voice actors in respective markets that say your lines and that’s not necessarily what the character is always. So, I love that, but it definitely makes it that much more challenging.”
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 being described by its cast and crew as a story about the difficulties of operating as a family unit, it sounds as though Baby Groot will be the (somewhat figurative, but also somewhat literal) kid in the family just trying to find his place amidst the dysfunctional group of misfits around him. While Baby Groot’s “goofy, adorable” nature will not doubt be played for laughs aplenty in this respect, the first Guardians of the Galaxy was also widely praised for incorporating moments of sincere drama into its broader action/comedy proceedings. So, in keeping with that established approach, it stands to reason that Baby Groot’s struggles (as well as his, at best, fragmented memories) will likewise make for some heartfelt interactions with his fellow Guardians too, his pal Rocket Racoon in particular.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet-untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.