Baby Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

One Guardian of the Galaxy’s Cameo in ‘I Am Groot’ Is Super Sweet

Family is what you make it.

All five episodes of I Am Groot, the new collection of shorts starring Marvel’s most adorable baby tree, are now streaming on Disney+. Overall, the shorts (which come out to a grand total of 15 minutes of content) are fine if forgettable, but there’s one cameo that’s a genuinely sweet surprise. Plus, it sets up a really interesting dynamic that we know will be explored more in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3!

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The shorts follow Groot in his days as a baby following the events of Guardians of the Galaxy, when he sacrifices himself to save Rocket and the others in a spaceship crash, and then grows back as a twig in a pot. In the shorts, Groot tousles with a bonsai tree, soaks in a hot spring, meets a race of aliens even tinier than he is, and has a dance-off with a haughty doppelgänger. In the final short, “Magnum Opus,” Groot works hard on an art project, and someone very important to him shows up to take a look.

Rocket Raccoon is a great dad to little trees

In the last short, Groot scours the ship for materials for some mysterious project he’s working on. He steals Drax’s soap while Drax is in the shower, cuts a tuft of hair off Rocket’s tail while he’s sleeping, and then makes a bomb just so he can collect the glitter from the resulting explosion. When Rocket comes up to find out what’s going on, he panics at the sight of all the fire and mayhem, but then Groot hands him something. Rocket calms down and pulls out a pair of reading glasses so that he can examine it. Groot’s magnum opus is a mixed media family portrait of all the guardians, with an oversize drawing of himself in the middle. Rocket, touched, says they’ll hang the drawing on the fridge.

It’s a scene that any parent can relate to. There’s the terror of hearing a loud noise and thinking your kid has been in a horrible accident. There’s the combination of dread and awe at seeing the destruction they’ve wrought in what used to be your well-kept home. But then all the bad stuff melts away when your wee one shows you how much they love you—especially when they do it through art.

The relationship between Rocket and Groot has been one of the best aspects of Guardians of the Galaxy ever since the very beginning. Rocket tends to make a big show out of being annoyed with Groot, especially when Groot does stuff like drink out of public fountains and fail to understand when not to push a button. However, when Groot gives his own life to save the others in Guardians 1, and then gets dusted at the end of Infinity War, we see how much Rocket really cares for him. The two of them are a family, and even though Rocket seems hardened and cynical on the outside, he’s deeply tender and caring with Groot.

Plus, the best part of their parent/child dynamic might still be on its way. At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, Hall H attendees were treated to an exclusive trailer for Guardians 3, which revealed that the new movie will have a flashback to Rocket as a baby. Will Groot be in the flashbacks? Will we see him taking care of a scared and wounded baby Rocket? If so, that’ll set up some really cool symmetry in their relationship.

It’s also something you can only really accomplish in science fiction. While real-world relationships do have these reversals—a grown child caring for an aging parent, for example—you don’t see people literally aging down so that their former ward becomes their caretaker. I’m here for all the ways we get to explore what Groot and Rocket mean to each other as they fight their way through an unforgiving cosmos.

Could Groot and Rocket be one of the best family stories in the MCU? They might be, and Marvel does families really well. Rocket is a wonderfully complex character, and Groot’s fluctuating age has led to a lot of gratifying surprises in their dynamic together. Thanks to Rocket’s cameo, I Am Groot has got me even more excited about Guardians 3. May 2023 can’t get here fast enough.

(featured image: Marvel)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>