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Guardians of the Galaxy director reveals Avengers: Infinity War secret about Groot

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Right in the feels

Avengers: Infinity War
Star-Lord (left) and teen Groot (right).
Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is a master tweeter, using his platform to answer questions Marvel fans may have or send them on Easter egg hunts.

He also uses Twitter as a way of furthering the story told in Marvel’s films. Gunn is like the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s J.K. Rowling, springing up from time to time to confirm a long-standing rumor or make some kind of proclamation. Now, following Avengers: Infinity War’s release, Gunn is back to add a few more details about the Guardians’ adventures in the film.

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.]

Infinity War is like Game of Thrones’ “Red Wedding” episode, but with far more deaths. Basically everyone dies. That includes almost all of the Guardians of the Galaxy. The only exception is Rocket Raccoon (and Nebula, I guess). As people start disintegrating, leaving their friends and allies to try and work out what’s happening, Rocket watches as Teen Groot slowly starts to chip away.

Groot, however, manages to get in one last word before disintegrating completely: “Dad.”

There’s a lot to unpack here. No, Rocket Raccoon is not Groot’s actual father. Gunn previously explained that Baby Groot, a version of the character we saw in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is the genetic son of the adult Groot from the first Guardians. Still, although Rocket isn’t Groot’s biological father, he is the closest emotional equivalent. It’s not like Guardians of the Galaxy is immune to emotional stories about father figures and sons; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was quite literally a story about Star-Lord realizing Yondu was the closest thing he has to a real father, upon learning that his biological dad was nothing more than a disappointment.

Rocket is the person (animal?) who looks after Groot, raising him from his baby years into his angsty teen self. Rocket has help from Star-Lord, Gamora and Drax, but as far as pseudo-father figures go, Rocket is the closest to Groot. If Groot thinks of Rocket as a father figure, that also means Rocket may think of Groot as a son.

And if that’s the case, the emotional trauma of watching his son disintegrate before his eyes and learning that the rest of his makeshift family is dead has to be weighing on Rocket.

“Dad” may only be one word, but it’s led to a whole new way of thinking about the relationship between the Guardians that gives Infinity War even more weight. Hopefully Groot will return to his father in Avengers 4 next year.