Star Trek Guide

Teen Groot: How the Guardian of the Galaxy Saved the MCU

One of the most beloved characters on the Guardians of the Galaxy is the sentient alien tree, Groot. After the fan-favorite character died in the original Guardians of the Galaxy, the next incarnation of the space-faring superhero debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a sapling in a mid-credits scene from Guardians of the Galaxy. Groot starred in the film's sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and the limited vocabulary-character would play a major role in Avengers: Infinity War as the Guardians teamed up with the Avengers to battle Thanos.

Now, here's how the teenage incarnation of Groot was created, whether or not he is the same character from the original Guardians of the Galaxy and how he saved the MCU during Infinity War.

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The original Groot had sacrificed himself at the end of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, covering the other members of the fledgling cosmic team as they crash-landed on the planet Xandar, saving their lives at the cost of his own. All that remained of Groot in the fiery crash was a single, small branch which Rocket plants in potted soil after the surviving Guardians save the day.

As the branch begins to bud, it displays sentience, dancing along to Star-Lord's music on the Benatar before being able to walk and talk on his baby as an infant version of Groot, adorably dubbed Baby Groot. This tiny version of the Guardians former companion remains an infant for the majority of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, planting powerful explosives at the core of Ego to destroy the evil Celestial when he reveals his true intentions.


Following the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had indicated that the Baby Groot retained the same personality and consciousness as his predecessor. Feige compared the character's evolution to that of the resurrected Spock in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, as a character struggling to regain their memories after their revival.

After the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, however, writer and director James Gunn clarified that Baby Groot was a separate character from the original one seen in the first film, insisting that the adult Groot was dead and Baby Groot was his son. As such, this new Groot went on to develop his own personality and memories, as seen when he aged to a teenager in the mid-credits scene for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, displaying a much more rebellious personality by mouthing off to Star-Lord.


Groot's development into a moody teenager was still evident at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, since preferring to play video games rather than focus on missions despite Star-Lord and Rocket's warnings while mouthing off to his fellow teammates. After the team rescued Thor from the wreckage of his spaceship destroyed by Thanos, the teenager became a bit more engaged in the mission, accompanying Rocket and Thor to Asgardian forge world of Nidavellir so Thor could create a new weapon to replace Mjolnir.

Led by the forge master, Etri, Thor restarted the heart of a dying star at the forge's core but Etri couldn't find the handle in time to attach to the newly created ax Stormbreaker. As Thor lay mortally wounded by taking the full brunt of the star to power the forge, Groot joined the two halves of the ax head together, despite it still being searing hot and severed his own arm to create a new handle. With Stormbreaker now complete, Thor summoned it to him to completely heal himself before teleporting Groot and Rocket along with him to Wakanda to turn the tide of battle against the Black Order and their forces.

Without Groot's timely intervention, Thor may very well have died on Nidavellir from recklessly taking the full force of the forge's star. And with the God of Thunder dead, the Avengers and Wakandans may have been completely overrun by Thanos' armies, negating the possibility of the survivors traveling back in time through the Quantum Realm to save the day in Avengers: Endgame. It is unknown if the resurrected teen Groot will still be a sullen, moody character in the future of the MCU, but his crucial role to save Thor in Infinity War was one of the most pivotal acts in the entire film.