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Baby Groot, For All His Cuteness, Isn’t a ‘Marketing Ploy’

by  in Movie News Comment
Baby Groot, For All His Cuteness, Isn’t a ‘Marketing Ploy’

The more cynical among us might have walked away from the teaser trailer for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” thinking Baby Groot is little more than a marketing ploy for Disney to sell more toys. However, director James Gunn insists the decision to keep the character pint-sized was a “creative change,” and not driven by merchandising.

RELATED: James Gunn Wants a Rocket and Groot Movie, Says Vin Diesel

Responding Saturday on Twitter to a fan who asked whether some people view Baby Groot as a “ploy,” the filmmaker replied, “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.”

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He elaborated in a Facebook post, writing, “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.”

RELATED: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” Trailer’s Best Moments

Gunn explained that while he had reservations about presenting Marvel Studios with some of his plans for the sequel — Ego the Living Planet among them — “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.”

However, the studio obviously supported Gunn’s ideas, leading to the “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel that arrives in theaters May 5. All of that said, the director makes it clear he wasn’t oblivious to Baby Groot’s cuteness.

I’m not an idiot,” he wrote. “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.”

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Glenn Close, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan and Kurt Russell.

(via Entertainment Weekly)

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