With nearly two dozen releases in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe expected over the next two years, director James Gunn will finally complete his Marvel trilogy with Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3. Guardians Vol. 3 is still in the earliest stages of development, although fans are undoubtedly hyped to see Marvel's lovable band of misfits return to the big screen.
The Guardians were last seen in the two-part Infinity Saga culmination of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame before leaving Earth with Thor in tow as Phase 3 came to a close. Before their next solo movie, they will play a part in 2022's Thor: Love and Thunder and star in their own Disney+ entry with the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
As the team has evolved since their first appearance in 2014, fans have seen the motley crew go through some serious changes throughout their adventures. Recently, the man behind the Guardians magic touched on one of the most noticeable of these changes.
JAMES GUNN PUTS ADULT GROOT TO REST
In a Q&A session on his most recent Instagram story, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was asked if adult Groot will make a return to the MCU. Gunn replied that adult Groot "is no longer with us," and that it's unlikely he will come back "unless there is a prequel of some type":
"Sadly that original Groot is no longer with us, so unless there is a prequel of some type we won't see him again."
Gunn's full response can be seen here:
WHICH GROOT WILL BE SEEN IN PHASE 4?
Groot's journey through the MCU has been quite interesting, mostly due to the fact that he's been shown in a different stage of life in nearly every one of his appearances to date. Guardians of the Galaxy started with adult Groot, Vol. 2 utilized the ever-adorable Baby Groot, that same movie finished with the moody Adolescent Groot that continued in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Gunn took a major risk by killing Groot off in the Guardians' first solo outing, which ended up being the only film to bring the full-grown humanoid plant into play. With Gunn confirming that this version of the character is "no longer with us," there are a couple of different possibilities for what he could mean.
Gunn has repeatedly mentioned that that Groot died in Guardians of the Galaxy. That being said, there's a chance he simply means this Groot is a new version of the character that isn't connected to the one from the first movie.
There's also the chance that there's a new stage of Groot's evolution that hasn't been seen on screen yet. With Vin Diesel's character shown in three different "age ranges" thus far, there could be an unknown range that Gunn is keeping a secret.
However the Groot situation resolves itself, it will be intriguing to find out where the character goes as his journey with the Guardians continues. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 will release sometime in 2023, and Groot will also be the focus of 2022's I Am Groot on Disney+.