DUBAI: Move over, Baby Yoda! It’s time for Baby Groot to take center stage as Disney+ gives the “Guardians of the Galaxy” character his own series of five animated shorts in August.
“Groot has always been a favorite character, not just with fans of the (Marvel Cinematic Universe), but also at the studio — at Marvel and at Disney. And since ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. Two’ we’ve been thinking about ways to bring Groot back to the screen,” Brad Winderbaum, head of streaming, television and animation at Marvel Studios, told Arab News.
Groot — a sentient alien who looks like a tree — first appeared in the MCU in 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” in which the character ultimately sacrificed himself for his friends, only to be replaced by his son, Baby Groot (a sapling that grew out of his body). “I am Groot” focuses on Baby Groot’s adventures away from the Guardians. On his journey he will he meet new characters and find himself in perilous situations, according to the studio.
The series is directed by Kirsten Lepore, who also serves as an executive producer along with Marvel president Kevin Feige and “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn, among others.
“We were excited about making shorts (instead of full-length episodes) because of the value of shorts in the history of Disney. It’s kind of the bedrock of the studio in a lot of ways. Early on in the process, we looked at filmmakers who excelled at telling short stories magically and Kirsten really rose to the top of the list very quickly,” said Winderbaum.
Lepore, who previously worked as the animation director for the acclaimed indie movie “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” said, “It’s been absolutely amazing working with Disney. Just totally a dream. Everyone who I’ve gotten to work with has just been lovely. And Brad and the executives have always been super supportive of my weird ideas that I’ve wanted to inject into things.”
While the series focuses on Baby Groot (voiced by Hollywood star Vin Diesel) going solo, it still retains a distinct “Guardians” vibe. “(Gunn) was an executive producer on it. And we had several calls with him, just making sure that we were really capturing the heart and soul of this character in a way that he would want. And I feel like we pulled it off,” said Lepore.
“I am Groot,” which has already been greenlit for a second run of five shorts, premieres on Disney+ on Aug. 10.