At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot is reborn thanks to a tiny sliver Rocket managed to save before Groot sacrificed himself to save the rest of the team when their ship went down. While interacting with fans, director James Gunn took to Twitter to note that, sorry folks, the original Groot did not survive that spaceship crash.
"First Groot is dead," explained Gunn. "Baby Groot is his son."
That likely comes as a surprise for some fans, but Gunn has been offering the "dead Groot" reasoning since 2017, when he laid it all out on Facebook. Put simply, Gunn makes the case that Baby Groot is born from the same stuff of the original Groot, in the same way children share the DNA of a parent.
"Although I don't necessarily think it's obvious in Vol. 1, it's important to say that if you exploded and a little glob of you started growing into a baby, I would not assume that baby was you," he wrote. "I do think it's more obvious in Vol. 2, as Baby Groot has a different personality than Groot, none of his memories, and is much, much dumber."
So rest in peace Groot, you gave your life to save the world. But long live Baby (and Teenage) Groot — at least for a few more sequels.