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So About That One Groot Line in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ …

Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

The Guardians could always understand Groot. From the first Guardians of the Galaxy on, Rocket knew what Groot was saying, and slowly, the rest of the team could understand him. We really didn’t know why, but I had kind of always assumed it was like a Chewbacca thing—that Han might not speak Shyriiwook and vice versa, but they understood one another. What we learned in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is that Groot’s ability to talk to those near him comes from their connection in a more literal way.

We hear “I am Groot,” but the Guardians hear whatever it is that Groot has actually said. It took new Gamora finally understanding Groot, after spending the entire movie around him, to really make it click for the audience how it works. So when Groot does eventually say, “I love you guys,” at the end of the movie, fans briefly thought that he just learned new words.

The reality is so much more emotional. Gizmodo’s feature on it confirmed my suspicions: It’s not that Groot learned more words. It’s that we, as the audience, are now part of Groot’s family, and we can understand him, too. By the end of the trilogy, we’re all together as one, and we are … well, we are Groot.

Twitter user FranTGP asked Guardians writer/director James Gunn if it was in fact true, and Gunn replied “Spoiler … Yes, that’s exactly what it means.”

With how the Guardians have been together, it’s all about loving and trusting each other, and knowing that this means that we’re part of the team too? That’s the kind of stuff that makes you cry and curse James Gunn for wrecking your emotions again and again. And boy did I cry yet again over this.

We’re all part of the Guardians of the Galaxy family

The Guardians of the Galaxy walking in Vol. 3

While, yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy have always been about finding your group and choosing your family, it’s different knowing that we, as the audience, are part of it. We’ve, from the start, had our favorite characters and have gone on this journey with the Guardians, but now we are their family. We, as a collective, went through this story together, to grow and love each other.

Groot saying, “I love you guys,” wasn’t just to the Guardians; it was to fans of this franchise who have been here from the start. It’s for those of us who cried when he said, “We are Groot,” and sacrificed himself for his friends. It’s for those of us who listened to Cat Stevens sing “Father and Son” as Yondu got a Ravagers funeral. And now, as the Guardians are going their separate ways (for now), we’re all still a family—audience included.

So the confirmation that Groot’s “I love you guys” was us being a part of his family just oddly means a lot. Because we are all a family. Who have cried together, laughed together, and learned to love the Guardians of the Galaxy together.

(featured image: Walt Disney Company)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.