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James Gunn Doesn't Want You To Forget That Guardians Of The Galaxy's Original Groot Is Dead

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have racked up a veritable library of iconic and unforgettable moments to look back in the franchise's 14-year history, from the awesome to the hilarious to the tear-jerking. But one that's certainly up there among the most memorable MCU moments ever is the death of Groot at the end of "Guardians of the Galaxy." Encasing his fellow Guardians in an orb of thick branches and leaves, the arboreal giant sacrifices himself to shield the team when the ship they're on is about to crash-land into Xandar.

It's one of the most heartbreaking and emotionally resonant deaths in the entire MCU. In the context of the movie, the pang of it was — at the time — partly alleviated by the appearance of Baby Groot in the film's final moments, which some fans interpreted as a sort of rebirth of the Groot they already knew and loved.

Nowadays, however, we know that the character known as Groot in the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" is, indeed, dead and that the current Groot, seen in projects like "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" and the newly-released "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," is actually an altogether new character. And, for those who have not yet caught on to that fact, James Gunn, who wrote and directed both "Guardians" films, will often be helpfully on hand to clear things up.

Gunn has clarified that Groot and Baby Groot are different characters many times

James Gunn is known for having a highly active social media presence — which frequently extends to answering fan questions on Twitter. To give a recent example, on November 28, 2022, a Twitter user with the handle @Nemesis3325 tagged the director and posted the question, "Does current Groot have all the memories of the original Groot just with the temperament of a Teen, or is he 1000% his own Treeman?" A couple of minutes later, Gunn promptly responded, "No memories. Son of OG Groot."

The tweet is yet another in a long history of official confirmations of the same fact given by Gunn. Yahoo! Sports even reported in 2018 that things had gotten to the point where the filmmaker had become amused by the internet's seeming willful forgetfulness when it came to Groot's death, as a new cycle of shock and surprise seemed to commence whenever he clarified that Groot and Baby Groot are, indeed, separate entities. In a since-deleted tweet, Gunn wrote, "The internet is like Groundhog Day every time I point out first Groot died. Baby Groot has a different personality, a different body, no memories of adult Groot & adult Groot's sacrifice actually meant something. New round of news stories & collective gasping again & again."

For those previously unaware, solace can be taken in the fact that Rocket Raccoon is now apparently raising Groot's son — a sweet idea to contemplate if there ever was one.