Branching Out

The baby Flora colossus is back with five short adventures in I Am Groot


WE’VE SEEN SEVERAL growth stages of Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from Guardians Of The Galaxy through to Thor: Love And Thunder. But let’s be real: the Baby Groot iteration is the one that delights audiences most. Since we didn’t get much quality time with the whippersna­pper, Marvel Studios is giving us five unseen adventures in the Disney+ original shorts series I Am Groot.

The series is executivep­roduced by James Gunn, and written and directed by Kirsten Lepore, known for her indie animated shorts. Lepore tells Red Alert that Marvel Studios asked her to come in for a general meeting, where she was asked to pitch her take on a Baby Groot shorts series. Her ideas impressed the executives and together they crafted I Am Groot to fill in some gaps that the movies weren’t able to show audiences.

“We landed on five standalone shorts where you are just plopped right into a day in the life of Groot’s childhood, which I think is really lovely and wonderful,” Lepore says about the structure of the series. “It just gave us such a huge sandbox to play with for the stories that we could tell. But we really wanted to focus mostly on what are the universal childhood experience­s that we all have. And then how do we make it weird and make it Groot and make it sci-fi?”

Since James Gunn introduced Baby Groot in his first Guardians film, he was part of the developmen­t process from the start. “We did have several meetings with him where we got to talk about just who is this character,” Lepore says. “That was really, really informativ­e. And all the things that James told me about who that character should be, I kept in the back of my head throughout the whole series and kept coming back to it. Because we really are defining this character more than he’s ever been defined.

“But it’s interestin­g, because we only have three minutes in which to tell these stories, which is not a lot of time,” she continues. “That’s probably the biggest challenge that we kept coming up against. We just want to tell these five, 10, 15-minute epics, but we really needed to make them bite-size and quick and fun. And even though it’s only three minutes, we tell a complete story in each one.”

Each story is Baby Grootcentr­ic, but Lepore says there are plenty of new characters too, like her creations, the Grunes. “They have these little, simple bodies with four eyes and a mouth. When I see them, I’m like, ‘That’s a Kirsten character right there!’ When we were designing it, I felt like I was getting away with designing a character that was that much my style of character design. But everyone loves them.”

And she promises that fans of the Guardians and the MCU will get to see some familiar faces in the episodes. “I think fans will be excited to see some worlds and some characters that they will recognise,” she teases. TB

I Am Groot is on Disney+ from 10 August.

 ?? ?? He is Groot. But you probably knew that.
He is Groot. But you probably knew that.
 ?? ?? Crank up the merch machine, boys!
Crank up the merch machine, boys!
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