Rocket’s right hand man-tree-alien says, “I am Groot,” but what does that even mean? Apparently, for one Deadpool and Star Wars comic editor, Jordan D. White, that’s a loaded question. White spent Monday morning on Twitter (posting three tweets to be exact) tackling the existential question “What is Groot?”. There may be a definitive answer, so buckle up.
White edits popular Marvel series including Deadpool and Star Wars, but that doesn’t mean he has access to all the secrets at the comic book company. However, when tackling a question like figuring out what exactly Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy is, it’s not his fault. Groot is a mystery, even in-universe. Really, Mr. White should be congratulated for his attempts at figuring out Groot’s exact physiology which defies the knowledge of even the smartest Marvel scientists. To his credit, White and fellow Marvel editor Heather Antos follow the line of logic that Groot should work like an actual tree, or plant.
As evidenced in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy, there are moments when Groot’s physiology is very tree-like. His branches snap, his roots grow, and flowers bloom. Nothing about his appearance suggested that Groot wasn’t some kind of tree alien. It makes sense then to question Groot’s shrinking, which he does after he grows to tremendous size.
Just as how trees don’t shrink unless they are cut down, there’s really no natural explanation as to why Groot appears to shrink more naturally than a tree would. Heather Antos even suggests a rapid decomposition process which would also make sense, but with White imagining the compost that would naturally be left behind after each shrinking.
This logic depends wholly on the assumption that Groot is 100 percent tree/plant. Maybe the reason Groot can do things the defy normal plant physiology is that he isn’t necessarily an actual tree, but made of tree-like tissue.
Given the fact that Groot is an alien, it would be impossible for him to be completely like the biology found on Earth. If his body was actually organic components that mimicked an Earth tree, it would be more believable that he can grow, imitating the growth of plant life, but shrink as a result of his limbs behaving more organically (complete with nerve endings).
This theory does pose some interesting, and creepy questions. For instance, if his body is actually tissue and nerves, does he feel pain when his limbs get torn apart? He doesn’t necessarily exhibit pain when it happens in the film and comics, but that doesn’t mean Groot doesn’t feel pain at all. In fact, he defaults to anger when he gets damaged, and that’s a natural response to pain.
So think about that the next time you laugh at Groot getting his arm or leg cut off. He might be made of organic tissue matter.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 hits theaters May 5, 2017.