During the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, it's been difficult for people to enjoy the things they probably took for granted before, such as going out to dinner at a nice restaurant, or seeing a movie at the theater. Because of this, everyone has had to adapt and find ways to keep themselves entertained within the walls of their own homes. ComicBook has been taking advantage of these unfortunate circumstances by hosting what they call "Quarantine Watch Parties," bringing in some of the biggest names in the MCU like Scott Derrickson to tweet live commentary during the Marvel films that they schedule. Director James Gunn has been one of the most vocal participants during these events, and he revealed many new details about his beloved characters while commentating via Twitter during the showing of Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, he's spilled even more after he live-tweeted along with the watch party for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2!
In a series of tweets, director James Gunn has brought many new details to light about the Guardians characters that fans know and love so dearly.
For starters, those who originally thought that Peter Quill's translator worked on a universal scale, James Gunn corrected this in response to a fan asking why Star-Lord had to learn Groot's language rather than being able to understand it right off the bat. He then goes on to say that the Groot language is not something that one can learn simply by obtaining knowledge of the language itself, but one can only learn the language by personally connecting with Groot himself.
He doesn’t have a universal translator. He has a translator. And it doesn’t have all languages in it (it didn’t have Sakaaran in the first film for example). And people don’t learn Groot through knowing the language - they learn it through connecting with Groot. https://t.co/4PoUm2lXhv
After posting this response, a second fan pointed out that the explanation that Gunn gave to how one can learn Groot's language is different from the Marvel comics explanation of how Groot is understood, which is that Groot's "organs of acoustic generation become stiff and inflexible," which causes the "hardened formation of the larynx." Gunn made it a priority to correct this, admitting that he never quite agreed with the comic explanation, and added that it is not accurate to the MCU portrayal of Groot.
Since the larynx has little to do with enunciation (it’s pitch & volume), I never understood how a hardened larynx would cause someone to only be able to enunciate “I am Groot.” https://t.co/E4vQDl1FpQ
Arguably the biggest reveal from Gunn's recent tweets is that an early version of his script for 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy gave an entirely different reason for why all Groot spoke was "I am Groot" - originally, Gunn had written Groot to have a brain injury, saying he had previously studied the effects of Broca's aphasia and wanted to find a way to apply that to Groot's character development.
One of my early treatments for Vol 1 had Groot suffering from a brain injury. I had studied Broca’s aphasia in the past & knew of people like this man who was only able to say “tono,” & thought I could apply that to Groot. https://t.co/IJesGqUGc2
Gunn then went on to add that this idea was pulled, both because the idea itself was a bit heavy, and because it took away from the relationship that Groot has with Rocket in the Guardians films.
But in the end some of my team thought that was a bit dark & I realized I’d have to let go of Rocket being the only one able to understand him (which I knew would be the case until others got to know him better down the road), & so I took it in another direction.
WHAT THIS MEANS
The amount of thought that went into creating the Guardian that literally only says "I am Groot" truly conveys how deeply director James Gunn invests in his characters. A lot of what the audience interprets as the strong bond between Groot and Rocket came from Rocket knowing how to communicate with Groot when no one else could. Groot having a brain injury that limits his speech certainly would have been a simple yet effective way to tell the audience why Groot speaks the way that he does, but the deeper value of knowing Groot's language would have been lost in doing so. Seeing that Gunn has the desire to write his characters in a way that makes sense to the real world is a huge reason why the MCU is as successful as it is today, as it provides that extra layer of humanity and vulnerability that breaks down the barrier between the characters on screen and the audience watching them.