Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3: King Groot & Kaiju Groot explained

Cameron Frew
Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 and a still of Kaiju Groot from the comics

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 features two nods to King Groot and Kaiju Groot – here’s everything you need to know.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe first introduced Groot, Vin Diesel’s polysyllabic humanoid tree, in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. He was tall, imposing, and frighteningly strong – he rag-dolled several goons at once – but his roots weren’t exactly muscular; his branches were outwardly sharp, and he looked a bit haggard.

He sacrificed himself to save his new pals in the first movie, but Rocket saved one of his branches so he could grow him again. We saw Baby Groot in Vol 2, and in Vol 3, he’s a bulky, sturdy young adult.

However, there are two moments in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 that indicate he could get bigger – a lot bigger. Spoilers to follow…

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3: King Groot explained

King Groot in Marvel Contest of Champions

At the end of the movie, Rocket leads a new team of Guardians: Groot, Kraglin, Adam Warlock, Phyla-Vell, and Cosmo. As they head off to fight some alien creatures, Groot stands up – and he is enormous, far bigger than we’ve ever seen him.

While unconfirmed, some fans believe this is a reference to King Groot, a character who doesn’t have any history in the comics. Instead, he first appeared in a video game: Marvel Contest of Champions, a mobile brawler.

His character bio reads: “Rising from under the canopy of a mysterious alien forest, Groot, the invincible master of plants and King of Planet X conquers all! This savage and ferocious monster from a parallel universe never met Rocket or joined the Guardians, instead becoming a galactic warlord and experimenting on captured humans.”

It seems highly unlikely that we’ll see a villainous Groot in the MCU, but King Groot was inspired by his first appearance in 1960’s Tales to Astonish #13, showing “the monster from Planet X” before his run-in with the Guardians. If nothing else, it illustrates how big he’s become – and he could get even larger.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3: Kaiju Groot explained

Kaiju Groot in the Marvel comics

When the Guardians arrive on Counter-Earth, the planet created by the High Evolutionary for his so-called “perfect species”, they rile up the local residents. When Mantis shouts, “Groot, full Kaiju!”, his size dramatically increases, suddenly towering over the crowd and wagging his tongue.

Kaiju Groot has roots in the comics. In 2014’s Rocket Raccoon #9, we see “what happens when you water Groot a little too much”: he turns into Grootzilla.

“He’s faster than a speeding Rocket, more powerful than Drax the Destroyer, and able to eat tall buildings in a single gulp,” the comic reads.

Again, we’d be surprised to see Grootzilla’s storyline adapted into live-action. Perhaps we’ll see it if there’s an I Am Groot Season 2.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is in cinemas now. You can read our review here, while for more on the movie, head to our dedicated GOTG page, or check out the below articles…

Best Easter Eggs | Pete Davidson cameo | Who dies? | Counter-Earth explained | Number of post-credits scenes | Is Yondu in GOTG 3? | Chris Pratt wants to return | Lylla, Teef and Floor explained | Does Rocket die? | Doctor Moreau influence | Adam Warlock, hero or villain? | High Evolutionary explained | Soundtrack details | Description of post-credit scenes | All actors and characters | Runtime explained | Why Rocket is the MVP | Is it streaming? | What is Blurp? | Ending explained | GOTG movies ranked | Will there be a Vol 4?

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