I Am Groot
|I Am Groot|
|Created by||Kirsten Lepore|
|Directed by||Kirsten Lepore|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||3 minutes|
|Production company||Marvel Studios|
|Distributor||Disney Platform Distribution|
|Related shows||Marvel Cinematic Universe television series|
I Am Groot is an American animated series of shorts created by Kirsten Lepore for the streaming service Disney+, based on the Marvel Comics character Groot. It features characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), following Baby Groot on various adventures that get him into trouble between the events of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and one of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's (2017) mid-credits scenes. The series is produced by Marvel Studios, with Lepore serving as head writer and director.
Vin Diesel reprises his role as the voice of Baby Groot from the MCU films, with Bradley Cooper also starring. I Am Groot was announced in December 2020, and Luma Pictures began work on the series' photorealistic animation by August 2021. The involvement of Lepore was revealed that November.
I Am Groot is scheduled to premiere with five shorts on Disney+ on August 10, 2022, as part of Phase Four of the MCU. An additional five shorts are in development.
Cast and characters
- Vin Diesel as Baby Groot:
A member of the Guardians of the Galaxy who is a tree-like humanoid. Executive producer Brad Winderbaum called Baby Groot "imperfect" who "doesn’t always make the right choices, but learns from his mistakes", adding it was "fun to watch him fail, and it's even more fun to watch him succeed".: 1
- Bradley Cooper as Rocket:
A member of the Guardians who is a genetically modified raccoon bounty hunter and a master of weapons and military tactics. Director Kristen Lepore described Rocket as "bit of a scolding parent" towards Groot, but still his friend "with a soft heart", with Winderbaum stating that Rocket feels responsible for Groot as "an unlikely parent".: 7
|No.||Title : 6–7||Directed by ||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"Groot's First Steps"||Kirsten Lepore||TBA||August 10, 2022|
|2||"The Little Guy"||Kirsten Lepore||TBA||August 10, 2022|
|3||"Groot's Pursuit"||Kirsten Lepore||TBA||August 10, 2022|
|4||"Groot Takes a Bath"||Kirsten Lepore||TBA||August 10, 2022|
|Taking a bath allows Baby Groot to create a variety of "costumes" out of his leaves, angering a nearby animal.|
|5||"Magnum Opus"||Kirsten Lepore||Kirsten Lepore||August 10, 2022|
|Inside the Eclector's Quadrant, Groot gathers various items to draw the Guardians of the Galaxy, later causing an explosion inside one of the ship's rooms. Rocket finds Groot trying to fix a blown-up hole and receives the drawing. Another explosion causes Rocket to be almost sucked out of the ship, only to be saved by Groot.|
In December 2020, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced I Am Groot, a series of short films starring Baby Groot. Around then, Marvel Studios' head of streaming, television and animation Brad Winderbaum chose Kirsten Lepore to direct the shorts, which would have "little-to-no dialogue".: 2 James Gunn, the writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, confirmed in April 2021 that the series would be animated. Lepore was announced as director of the shorts during the Disney+ Day event in November 2021, with Lepore also being the series' head writer. I Am Groot consists of five shorts, totalling approximately 15 minutes.: 3 The shorts are executive produced by Marvel Studios' Feige, Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Winderbaum, as well as Gunn and Lepore. Production on five additional shorts was underway by July 2022, described as a second season. Lepore said this second collection of shorts would be "in the same spirit" as the first.
Lepore and Ryan Little both wrote shorts; Little previously served as a writer on What If...?. Lepore drew inspiration from her son, and said the series uses science fiction elements to explore Groot's regular childhood moments. She met with Gunn throughout the process to ensure that she was accurately portraying Baby Groot, who Gunn described to her as a "bad baby". For the first short, "Groot's First Steps", Lepore wanted to explore Groot growing out of his pot, and was able to incorporate that with another idea of Groot, a sentient tree, going up against a non-sentient tree, which allowed her to explore a Buster Keaton style of physical comedy "in which the inanimate object always wins". "Groot's Pursuit" was conceived thinking about how children can mimic one another, resulting in one getting frustrated by it.: 6 Lepore was also interested in exploring Groot's physical abilities, which led to the short "Groot Takes a Bath". She described Groot as becoming a Chia Pet, which resulted in "a very fun arena to play in".: 7
Gunn said the series was not necessarily connected to his Guardians of the Galaxy films, and described them as being "canon to themselves" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Joshua Meyer from /Film likened this to the Team Thor mockumentary shorts which he called a "funny bit of apocrypha that isn't essential to MCU continuity". Winderbaum said the shorts were set between the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) and that film's mid-credits scene which featured a teenage Groot, with Lepore adding that it also showed events between the end of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and the start of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Vin Diesel was confirmed to be reprising his role as the voice of Baby Groot in June 2022. The next month, Bradley Cooper was revealed to be reprising his MCU role as the voice of Rocket, as well as Gunn having a voice cameo as Wrist Watch.: 7
Animation and editing
Work on the series' photorealistic animation style began by August 2021. Winderbaum explained that Marvel Studios wanted I Am Groot to feel "directly rooted in the language of the films", which is why they chose visual effects company Luma Pictures to animate the series since they previously designed and worked on Baby Groot for Vol. 2. Winderbaum highlighted how Lepore's experience working with stop motion animation translated to her directing computer-generated animation.: 6:31–7:13, 7:43–7:48 When talking to Lepore, Gunn compared Baby Groot's poses and facial expressions to emojis due the character's face just having eyes and a mouth. Lepore enjoyed designing the Grunds, seen in "Little Guys", and finding the way to make them be expressive with "just black dots and a mouth".: 6
Initial conceptions of the episodes in the storyboard and animatic stages resulted in the shorts being about five minutes. Lepore was aiming for each short to be approximately three minutes in length, and made refinements and "edited very carefully" to get them to that runtime.: 3
Daniele Luppi served as the composer for the first five shorts of I Am Groot. Lepore chose Luppi to score the series given his past work with an electronic sound, which helped translate to the "strange" sound she was looking for. She added that his score "sounds like it came out of a spaghetti western with the same kind of patina on it from that era". Luppi used old microphones, keyboards, and other analog instruments to give his score an "authentic, more organic sound".: 5–6 A single featuring the songs "Groot Bossa Nova" and "Groot Tuttifrutti" from the shorts was released digitally by Marvel Music and Hollywood Records on August 4, 2022.
Lepore wanted to feature music from the 1960s and 1970s, and looked at music from around the world instead of just the United States, to differ it from the music featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Licensed songs in the series include "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Raymond Scott in "Groot's First Steps", which Lepore noted instantly gives the short a "really weird flavor, this spacey, early electro feel", "Ran Kan Kan" by Tito Puente in "Groot's Pursuit", and "You Can Get It If You Really Want" by Jimmy Cliff in "Magnum Opus".: 5
Brief footage from the series was shown during Disney's annual meeting of shareholders in March 2022 within a content highlight reel. The first poster for the series, announcing its release date, was revealed on June 5, which made the series "immediately [begin] trending online". According to Variety's Trending TV chart, it amassed 231,000 user engagements, which measure the combination of tweets, retweets, likes, and hashtags, the second most for the week of May 30 to June 5, behind the Netflix series Stranger Things. Marvel Studios partnered with Wonderful Pistachios and Framestore for a "Groot Gets Crackin'" marketing campaign, featuring Groot across television advertisements, digital and social media posts, and limited-edition packaging for their pistachios, as well as in-store displays until August 31. A 15-second television spot was released on June 6, as part of the campaign. Tickets to attend Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. in Las Vegas were also set to be given out randomly to customers who bought their pistachios as part of the campaign.
The short "Magnum Opus" debuted at the El Capitan Theatre, appearing before select screenings of the MCU film Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), from July 18 to 24. The short "Groot Takes a Bath" was shown during Marvel Studios' animation panel at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22, where Lepore discussed the series and a trailer for all of the shorts was also released.
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