Confirmed Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Theory Makes the Ending Even Better

A tremendous fan theory adds an extra layer to the end of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy 3.

Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy 3
Photo: Marvel

There were tears and trees aplenty in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and as the sci-fi stalwart makes a permanent move to the DC Universe, it looks like he’s taking a few of the human Guardians with him! There’s been a tree-mendous Groot theory doing the rounds that could change your perception of the fan-favourite foliage if we see him again in the MCU, though. 

Since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was officially announced in 2017, the cast and crew have been on the promo circuit saying that this would be the last outing. Well, at least with the current lineup. While we’ll likely never see Star-Lord flirt his way around the cosmos with Rocket, Groot, Gamora, Drax, and Mantis again, at least Gunn gave them a fitting farewell that does these ragtag rogues justice. 

Despite the doom-mongering of the trailers (and Dave Bautista saying he’s done with the series) painting a target on the backs of Rocket Raccoon and Drax the Destroyer, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, had an oddly upbeat ending for what was billed as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s darkest outing yet.

With the crew assembling for one last time at the Guardians’ base of Knowhere, they go their separate ways and leave the door open for their returns – or close it without having to kill anyone off. During this emotive farewell, Vin Diesel speaks his first MCU words other than “I am/we are Groot” and we finally get to hear what’s going on in that mahogany noggin. As the team parts, Groot says, “I love you guys,” before there’s a prolonged silence and an extended shot. 

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The first Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 post-credit revealed the much-hyped King Groot that Diesel had previously gushed about in a USA Today interview. It was possible that Groot’s imminent evolution into his next stage meant he’d learned English, but there’s been an altogether more heartwarming theory to bookend the trilogy, that has now been confirmed.

Over on Reddit last week, one fan theorized, “Does Groot’s ‘I love you’ towards the end signify that we as the audience finally understand him now as well?” This idea quickly caught on as someone else added, “Gunn played with this before. ‘We are Groot’ made so many people cry understanding him back in the day.” There he goes, tugging the heartstrings again. But not everyone was sold, as another reminded us that Thor said he studied Groot as an elective on Asgard.

The theory that we could now understand Groot was still a solid one that also explained why none of the Guardians reacted to him suddenly speaking English, if that was the case. Gunn had previously confirmed Star-Lord understanding Groot’s ramblings wasn’t a result of the Universal Translator, explaining, “People don’t learn Groot through knowing the language – they learn it through connecting with Groot,” We also saw this in Vol. 3 when 2014 Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) could understand him following their epic hallway fight against the High Evolutionary’s forces, and after the movie was released, Gunn took to Twitter to confirm that the theory was indeed correct 

The director also dropped another interesting tidbit on Twitter, claiming that actors get two scripts depending on whether their character can understand Groot or not. Those who can understand Groot get to read his musings, while the rest simply get “I am Groot” plastered on the page. Diesel might seem like he has a pretty sweet gig by uttering the same phrases every movie, but it’s the subtle nuances that make “I am Groot” more than just three words. 

We’ve certainly been able to piece together some Groot’s vocabulary over the years, with Gunn himself tragically revealing that Groot’s last words to Rocket before he was dusted in Avengers: Endgame translate as, “Dad.” And you thought THAT big Vol. 3 death was a tear-jerker! Assuming the new Guardians continue in some form with Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) and Phyla-Vell (a young Kai Zen) in tow, we could have Groot as quite the conversationalist. Then again, it would be just as easy to leave the story here after the second post-credit scene simply said, “The Legendary Star-Lord will return.”

Gunn recently told io9 how Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 evolved from the idea of a Groot and Rocket standalone. This explains why there’s so much focus on Bradley Cooper’s trash panda, although there’s definitely scope for more from Groot. We know Groot has dropped some colorful language under the guise of “I am Groot,” but it’s nothing compared to hearing Peter Quill unleash the MCU’s first f-bomb. Now that Star-Lord has set a precedent, if there’s a mythical fourth Guardians movie, it might be odd to hear Diesel cursing his way through its runtime as Groot.

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