James Gunn and Marvel have disagreed over whether I Am Groot, a new MCU miniseries on Disney+, is considered canon in the franchise.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe used to be so simple, canonically speaking: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America may have unfolded in slightly different timelines, but they were all leading to The Avengers in 2012.
We’re now approaching the end of Phase Four, knee-deep into the Multiverse Saga, and we have more questions than answers. Are all of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man movies canon after No Way Home? If Daredevil is coming back, did everything in the Netflix series still happen? Is Spider-Man: Freshman Year canon in the MCU?
A fresh complication has emerged with I Am Groot, a new collection of shorts coming to Disney+.
James Gunn doesn’t think I Am Groot is canon in the MCU
The official synopsis for I Am Groot reads: “There’s no guarding the galaxy from this mischievous toddler! Get ready as Baby Groot takes center stage in his very own collection of shorts, exploring his glory days growing up – and getting into trouble – among the stars.”
Vin Diesel has reprised this Guardians of the Galaxy role, with Bradley Cooper returning as Rocket Racoon. Baby Groot is set to get up to all sorts of mischief, but the question is: is it canon?
During an Instagram Q&A, Gunn said: “Some folks at Marvel seem to think it’s canonically MCU. I find that hard to see myself.”
Replying to a fan on Twitter, he also wrote: “They are animated shorts so not necessarily part of the Guardians saga. They’re canon to themselves, I’d think.”
In June, he also commented on Instagram: “They are special shorts and not canon to the Guardians saga.”
Marvel producer says I Am Groot is canon in the MCU
While Gunn’s words should be considered Guardians gospel, Marvel Studios Animation boss Brad Winderbaum disagrees with the director.
He told Comic Book: “It’s a narrow window, right? It takes place between the end of Guardians 2 and before the tag scene in Guardians 2.
“So it’s in this narrow window where Groot is in that kind of post-toddler stage of development. And it was something that really excited, James, and James also knew Kirsten [Lepore]’s work and was excited about working with her as well.”
Lepore, who’s directing I Am Groot, also said: “Yeah, I had great meetings with James at several points in the process. And the most pivotal one being our initial kickoff meeting, where we basically just discussed this amazing character that he created just to make sure we could do baby Groot the way we’re supposed to.”
I Am Groot hits Disney+ tomorrow, August 10.