While the Guardians of the Galaxy did have cameo roles in July's Thor: Love and Thunder, the recently released Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+ caught audiences up to speed on the ragtag crew's happenings.
According to Guardians writer and director James Gunn, "YA Groot" or "Swoll Groot" is "getting bigger, outward as well as upward."
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 set to release on May 5, 2023, the MCU holiday special has fans speculating about the threequel and further changes to Marvel Studios' Flora colossus.
And, as usual, Gunn can be counted on to set the record straight.
James Gunn Responds to Vol. 3 Rumor
In response to a rumor that Groot will revert to his original size by the ending of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, director/writer James Gunn took to Twitter to debunk such claims, saying, "That's not even physically possible:"
"Nope. That’s not even physically possible. He’s much broader than OG Groot ever was. He’s his progeny & a totally different Groot."
This isn't the first time the director has had to clarify that the original Groot and the current Groot are different characters.
In fact, some fans revisited this discussion following Gunn's tweet, with some claiming the reality of two different Groots was never explicitly stated and was unclear in the comics.
Gunn responded to these comments as well, noting that "it's explicit in the movies" and is even more apparent "now that Groot's body is developing differently:"
"I think it’s explicit in the movies through, as Baby Groot was explicitly a baby without the knowledge of OG Groot. But now that Groot’s body is developing differently it’s more obvious."
When another fan questioned how regeneration results in a different person, the director cleared things up even further, stating, "I never said he regenerated."
Both OG Groot and the new Groot have been integral in the Guardians' development as a reluctant team turned family.
The first Groot taught the crew that "We are Groot," before sacrificing himself to save them.
The next and current Groot has served as the baby of this unconventional family and one they all needed to protect.
While Gunn put one Vol. 3 rumor to rest, he did tell Deadline what audiences can truly expect from the upcoming threequel, saying "this family of rejects" coming "to accept who they are" is what "this journey is about:"
“It’s about this family of rejects who have found each other, and have come to love each other, and together with the support of each other, maybe come to accept who they are because they all hate themselves, and that’s really what this journey is about.”
Why Groot Is Key to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Whether Groot will still be "Swole Groot" in Vol. 3 remains to be seen. However, for those curious about the upcoming threequel, the Disney+ special is certainly worth paying attention to.
Ahead of the premiere, Gunn revealed that he shot The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Vol. 3 simultaneously, using the special as a means to update audiences ahead of the 2023 film.
Therefore, where the holiday special left the Guardians is likely where Vol. 3 will pick up.
The real question is how the film will end, especially since it's James Gunn's last outing with the team.
What audiences do know, however, is that the film is about Rocket and that both Gunn and the Guardians cast has warned fans that it's going to be "very, very emotional."
Throughout the course of the Guardians' tenure in the MCU, Rocket has served as a sort of father figure to Groot. Since Vol. 3 is emotional and about family, no doubt Groot (Swole Groot?) will play a key role in Rocket's emotional arc.
Now that The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special has brought Phase 4 of the MCU to a close, Guardians fans can expect to hear more about Vol. 3 in 2023 and, of course, online from James Gunn himself.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arrives in theaters on May 5, 2023.