In Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Andromeda galaxy’s most notorious A-holes return to maintain their reputation. Things are a little different this time around, however. In addition to newcomers like Mantis and the reluctant Nebula taking part in all the fun, the sentient plant with a limited vocabulary, Groot, is significantly smaller and about a thousand times more adorable. Just why is Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) still a baby in James Gunn’s sci-fi sequel?
For one thing, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 canonically takes place just “a few months” (in Earth time) after the first film. This was confirmed by director James Gunn in a Facebook Q&A that was both serious and not-so-serious. But the timeline stuff, yeah, he was being real. So following Groot’s death and “rebirth” in the first movie, it makes sense — given the rate of his healing and growth — that he’d just be a baby in the sequel rather than a full-grown walking space Ent.
But you best enjoy itty bitty Baby Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, because Groot will be an “adult” once again just in time for Avengers: Infinity War next year. In a conversation with CinemaBlend, Marvel Studios figurehead Kevin Feige confirmed that Infinity War will take place four years after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That’s plenty of time for Baby Groot to again become a fearsome, ass-kicking sentient sequoia.
However, it’s important to remember that Groot in Vol. 2 is still the same Groot that audiences fell in love with back in 2014. In an interview with Collider, Vin Diesel said Groot in Vol. 2 isn’t “fully grown yet, but he’s a man. Once he sacrifices himself at the end of the movie, now he has to start all over, so to speak. So we’re going to see this goofy, adorable baby Groot thing running around the screen just kinda learning as he goes.”
Until recently, most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe took place the same time they were released (or, in other cases, premiered on TV or Netflix). This was confirmed in last year’s Captain America: Civil War when the Vision mentions that it’s been “eight years” since Tony Stark first became Iron Man — in 2008’s Iron Man. But now, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has changed these unwritten rules.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5, 2017.