I Am Groot

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I Am Groot
I Am Groot logo.jpeg
Genre
Created byKirsten Lepore
Based on
Directed byKirsten Lepore
Starring
ComposerDaniele Luppi
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
Executive producers
Running time3 minutes
Production companyMarvel Studios
DistributorDisney Platform Distribution
Release
Original networkDisney+
Chronology
Related showsMarvel 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.

Premise

Each short follows Baby Groot as he grows up in the galaxy, going on adventures with new and unusual characters that get him into trouble.[1][2]

Cast and characters

  • Vin Diesel as Baby Groot:
    A member of the Guardians of the Galaxy who is a tree-like humanoid.[1][3] 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".[4]: 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.[5] 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".[4]: 7 

Additionally, James Gunn makes a voice cameo as Wrist Watch.[6]

Episodes

No.Title [4]: 6–7 Directed by [2]Written byOriginal release date [7]
1"Groot's First Steps"Kirsten LeporeTBAAugust 10, 2022 (2022-08-10)
2"The Little Guy"Kirsten LeporeTBAAugust 10, 2022 (2022-08-10)
3"Groot's Pursuit"Kirsten LeporeTBAAugust 10, 2022 (2022-08-10)
4"Groot Takes a Bath"Kirsten LeporeTBAAugust 10, 2022 (2022-08-10)
Taking a bath allows Baby Groot to create a variety of "costumes" out of his leaves, angering a nearby animal.
5"Magnum Opus"Kirsten LeporeKirsten LeporeAugust 10, 2022 (2022-08-10)
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.

Director Kirsten Lepore and Ryan Little served as writers.[8][5]

Production

Development

In December 2020, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced I Am Groot, a series of short films starring Baby Groot.[1][9] 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".[4]: 2  James Gunn, the writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy films, confirmed in April 2021 that the series would be animated.[10] Lepore was announced as director of the shorts during the Disney+ Day event in November 2021,[2] with Lepore also being the series' head writer.[8] I Am Groot consists of five shorts,[7] totalling approximately 15 minutes.[4]: 3  The shorts are executive produced by Marvel Studios' Feige, Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Winderbaum, as well as Gunn and Lepore.[5] Production on five additional shorts was underway by July 2022,[11] described as a second season.[12] Lepore said this second collection of shorts would be "in the same spirit" as the first.[13]

Writing

Lepore and Ryan Little both wrote shorts;[8][5] Little previously served as a writer on What If...?.[14][5] Lepore drew inspiration from her son, and said the series uses science fiction elements to explore Groot's regular childhood moments.[11] 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".[15] 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.[4]: 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".[4]: 7 

Gunn said the series was not necessarily connected to his Guardians of the Galaxy films,[16] and described them as being "canon to themselves" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).[17] 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".[16] 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,[15] 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.[13]

Casting

Vin Diesel was confirmed to be reprising his role as the voice of Baby Groot in June 2022.[3][8] The next month, Bradley Cooper was revealed to be reprising his MCU role as the voice of Rocket,[5] as well as Gunn having a voice cameo as Wrist Watch.[6][4]: 7 

Animation and editing

Work on the series' photorealistic animation style began by August 2021.[18] 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.[19]: 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.[15] 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".[4]: 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.[4]: 3 

Music

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".[4]: 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.[20]

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".[4]: 5 

Marketing

Brief footage from the series was shown during Disney's annual meeting of shareholders in March 2022 within a content highlight reel.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[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.[11][5]

Release

I Am Groot is scheduled to premiere with five shorts on Disney+ on August 10, 2022,[7] as part of Phase Four of the MCU.[25]

References

  1. ^ a b c Anderton, Ethan (December 10, 2020). "'Guardians of the Galaxy' is Getting a Live-Action Holiday Special in 2022 Before Vol. 3 Arrives in 2023". /Film. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Hipes, Patrick (November 12, 2021). "Disney+ Day: All The Streamer's Film & TV News From Premiere Dates To Series Orders". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Dick, Jeremy (June 5, 2022). "I Am Groot Poster Reveals August Premiere Date". MovieWeb. Archived from the original on June 5, 2022. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "I Am Groot Production Brief" (PDF). The Walt Disney Studios. July 27, 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 1, 2022. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Chapman, Wilson (July 22, 2022). "'I Am Groot' Drops Trailer, Renewed For Five Additional Episodes". Variety. Archived from the original on July 22, 2022. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Babb, Tiffany (July 28, 2022). "Disney+ series I Am Groot features a James Gunn voice cameo". PopVerse. Archived from the original on July 28, 2022. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c Lerner, Jessica (June 6, 2022). "Disney+ Adds I Am Groot to Summer Lineup". Adweek. Archived from the original on June 6, 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  8. ^ a b c d Disney+ (June 6, 2022). "Disney+ Unveils Key Art and Launch Date for Marvel Studios' "I Am Groot" Shorts" (Press release). The Futon Critic. Archived from the original on June 6, 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  9. ^ Peters, Jay; Gartenberg, Chaim; Alexander, Julia (December 10, 2020). "Here are all the new Marvel, Star Wars, and other projects Disney announced at its investor day". The Verge. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  10. ^ Gunn, James [@JamesGunn] (April 28, 2021). "[In response to "Hi Mr. Gunn, could you tell us if the "I am Groot" series is live-action or animated? Thanks!"] Animated" (Tweet). Archived from the original on April 28, 2021. Retrieved April 28, 2021 – via Twitter.
  11. ^ a b c Nolan, Liam (July 22, 2022). "SDCC Live: Marvel Studios Animation Panel Reveals Future of X-Men '97, What If and Marvel Zombies". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 22, 2022. Retrieved July 22, 2022.
  12. ^ Paige, Rachel (July 22, 2022). "SDCC 2022: Everything From the Marvel Studios Animation Panel". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on August 1, 2022. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Johnson, Zac (August 2, 2022). "How Marvel Studios Is Branching Out with I Am Groot". D23. Archived from the original on August 6, 2022. Retrieved August 6, 2022.
  14. ^ Bradley, A. C. [@TheAshBradley] (November 12, 2021). "A special shout out to the Amazing Ryan Little who is writing this wonderful series!! Ryan also writes on #WhatIfMarvel and he is the absolute best. So proud!!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on November 12, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2022 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ a b c Davis, Brandon (July 28, 2022). "When I Am Groot Takes Place in MCU Timeline Revealed". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on July 28, 2022. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  16. ^ a b Meyer, Joshua (June 5, 2022). "I Am Groot Animated Shorts Coming To Disney+ In August 2022". /Film. Archived from the original on June 6, 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  17. ^ Deboer, Riley (June 7, 2022). "GOTG's James Gunn Clarifies I Am Groot's MCU Canon Status". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on June 8, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  18. ^ Vary, Adam B. (August 11, 2021). "Marvel Studios Planning 'Multiple' New Animated Series Following Debut of 'What If…?'". Variety. Archived from the original on August 11, 2021. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
  19. ^ Phase Zero (July 28, 2022). Spider-Man Freshman Year BOMBSHELL + I Am Groot Timeline! - Kirsten Lepore and Brad Winderbaum. Retrieved July 29, 2022 – via YouTube.
  20. ^ "'I Am Groot' Soundtrack Single Released". Film Music Reporter. August 4, 2022. Archived from the original on August 5, 2022. Retrieved August 5, 2022.
  21. ^ Lang, Brad (March 10, 2022). "Disney Debuts First I Am Groot Clip". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on March 10, 2022. Retrieved March 12, 2022.
  22. ^ Dowling, Amber (June 6, 2022). "'Stranger Things' Maintains Twitter Buzz as 'I Am Groot' Roots Its Top 10 Debut". Variety. Archived from the original on June 7, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  23. ^ Adams, Timothy (June 6, 2022). "Marvel Studios Celebrates I Am Groot Disney+ Shorts With Wonderful Pistachios Campaign". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 2022. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
  24. ^ Liu, Narayan (July 16, 2022). "Marvel's I Am Groot Short to Premiere Before Select Thor 4 Showings". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 18, 2022. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  25. ^ Paige, Rachel (December 11, 2020). "All of the Marvel Studios News Coming out of The Walt Disney Company's 2020 Investor Day Presentation". Marvel.com. Archived from the original on December 13, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.

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