Going into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, fans around the world knew that it was going to be the last time James Gunn actively helmed an MCU project.
Following Vol. 3, Gunn's time at Marvel officially came to an end, and a new chapter in his career started. Now, the filmmaker is co-leading DC Studios with Peter Safran, where the duo is about to initiate a massive reset of the DCU universe.
While Gunn might be done with the MCU, his association and involvement with all of that franchise's characters certainly wasn't forgotten—particularly when it came to the first-ever Guardians project without him.
Marvel Says Goodbye to James Gunn in I Am Groot
I Am Groot's Season 2 is now streaming on Disney+, where five new episodes are available for fans to watch.
Interestingly enough, at the end of each installment's credits, there's a special "Special Thanks" credit given to James Gunn.
The move is seen by most as a cordial goodbye from the studio to James Gunn while properly thanking the filmmaker for all his work on the Guardians franchise and every character that came from it.
In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Kirsten Lepore, the director and writer for I Am Groot, discussed how she worked with James Gunn to create the fun animated series.
The outlet asked Lepore if she was given a document about Groot going into the project. She revealed that "there wasn't a document" but that they did "have a special meeting" to "[discuss] Groot:"
"There wasn’t a document, but we did have a special meeting that was pretty much just to talk about the character. It was really nice and great. It was just us discussing Groot, one on one. He created him, so it was all about who he is and what to think about as I’m writing him, so we can stay true to the character. He said that I have to remember that Groot is a bad baby and that Groot is kind of like an emoji guy, which really resonates with me as someone working in animation."
She continued on, gushing over how Groot's "face is so expressive" and that Gunn's advice about Groot being an emoji guy was always in her mind throughout I Am Groot's production:
"His face is so expressive, and it’s like an emoji. He just strikes a pose and you know exactly what he’s thinking about, what he’s talking about and what’s going on. So we tried to keep that in mind throughout the writing of both seasons one and two. I always had that James nugget replaying in my head."
The Guardians Live on Without James Gunn
While I Am Groot certainly isn't the most important or dramatic entry in the MCU, it successfully does what it intends: being a simple, fun collection of short outings with Groot himself. Also, its fun tone stays true to what Baby Groot always was—James Gunn would undoubtedly be proud.
While the filmmaker might already be over at DC Studios, his MCU characters will live on for a long time to come. While there isn't a proper Guardians 4 revealed, Vol. 3 did end with a brand new team of cosmic heroes being assembled.
At the very least, it's already confirmed that Chris Pratt's Star-Lord will return at some point in the future.
In the meantime, fans can catch up on Baby Groot's latest adventures—including a tale with The Watcher himself.
I Am Groot is now streaming on Disney+.