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Editor’s Note/Major Spoiler Alert: If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who has yet to see Guardians of the Galaxy, we suggest not watching the video above or reading any further. (You should probably erase that headline from your memory, too.)
If you have seen the movie already: Here’s the dancing baby tree sensation that’s sweeping the nation. For all of the movie characters we’ve seen die and come back to life onscreen over the years, Guardians of the Galaxy scene stealer Groot’s revival is probably the most sublime. And easily the funkiest.
Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel in a phenomenal performance that’s still just barely multisyllabic) heroically sacrifices himself for fellow Guardians Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket. But since he’s got that very useful ability to re-grow, he returns soon after in the form of a potted baby tree. He then shakes it like a Polaroid picture to the sounds of Peter Quill’s Awesome Mix Tape (more specifically, the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”).
We were able to convince Disney and Marvel to share this clip from their mega-hit with us for another smile-inducing viewing. Director James Gunn, already hard at work on Guardians of the Galaxy 2, kindly lent some extra insight on the scene. He told Yahoo Movies that dancing Baby Groot was something that was in the script from the very beginning. “It was initially written as a tag for the very end of the film,” Gunn said. “But after we shot it, it worked so well I wanted to put it at the actual end of the film so none of the audience would miss it.” He also wrote that specific Jackson 5 track into the screenplay saying, “‘I Want You Back’ is my favorite pop song ever.”
As for whose moves Baby Groot’s are based on, if you thought it might be former b-boy extraordinaire Vin Diesel, you’d be wrong. The real inspiration is even better: James Gunn himself. “Baby Groot dancing is 100 percent me,” he told us. “I was too embarrassed for anyone to be there, so I made everyone leave the room and I set up a camera and I videotaped myself dancing. Then I sent the video to the animators and had them animate over that. I begged them not to leak the video! Two of my closest friends came to an early screening and said ‘Hey, I recognize those moves! That’s you dancing isn’t it?!’” (Editor's Note: Next ask: video of James Gunn dancing.)
The director admitted even he couldn’t have predicted the amount of pure adulation the little groove thang-shaking hunk of wood would receive. "But I knew he made me happy as hell when I first saw how he was animated. He’s adorable."