Despite this, there were plenty of surprises in the new movie, as seen by the laughing and crying the film certainly induced in audiences.
One such surprise was explained in a recent tweet from the franchise's director, giving it even more emotional meaning than would appear on the surface.
Groot's Final Words to Original Team Explained
Warning: The rest of this article contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
At first glance, one may think that this line of dialogue — which goes against Groot's language restrictions of only saying "I am Groot" (and "We are Groot" once) — is Groot expressing that his love runs so profoundly that it pushes beyond the physiological restrictions of his communication.
While that would be emotionally compelling on its own, Gunn confirmed that the real reason is even more powerful: that, like the Guardians throughout the MCU thus far, the audience can now understand Groot's language, and hear what he means instead of the simple "I am Groot."
Essentially, audiences are now officially part of the Guardians' family.
With a Tweet saying "Yes that’s exactly what it means." in response to an article outlining this interpretation, Gunn confirmed that Groot did not actually say the words "I love you guys," but that the audience can now interpret Groot's language, hearing what he means rather than what he says.
We Are Groot
Once again, in a sense, "We are Groot." Fans have grown so close to this team, so it makes sense that upon goodbye, fans can understand Groot in the same way that the other Guardians can.
In the movie, fans see that growing closer to the anthropomorphic tree, even over a short period of time, can allow one to fully understand the character, as Gamora — sans her memories of her time with the team before her death in Avengers: Infinity War — learns to understand him. She goes from accusing the team of making up the interpretations of what he was saying to fully understanding Groot by the film's close.
Further, this revealed meaning behind the ending of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 makes the "We are Groot" moment in the first Guardians all the more emotional as well. Just before that version of Groot dies, the audience is seemingly able to understand him too.
With the logic of this new reveal from Gunn, it is possible that Groot was not actually saying the words "We are Groot" back in Guardians of the Galaxy, but that the audience was understanding him before he sacrificed himself.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is now playing in theaters.