A Rocket and Groot ‘Guardians’ Spinoff Movie Was Almost Made

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Bradley Cooper as Rocket Racoon (left) and Vin Diesel as Baby Groot (right) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Credit: Marvel Studios

Since their introduction in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and his trusty tree-like sidekick, Groot (Vin Diesel) have become fan-favorite MCU characters. And some may be distraught over the recently-revealed news that a spinoff film following Rocket and Groot was once in talks at Marvel Studios—only to be scrapped by James Gunn.

Mantis, Star-Lord, Nebula, Groot, and Drax stand together in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) is gearing up to release in theaters this Friday, promising an emotional and action-packed goodbye to the titular team of heroes fans have come to know and love.

Helmed again by Gunn, the movie sees Chris Pratt reprising his role as Peter Quill/Star-Lord along with Zoe Saldana’s Gamora, Dave Bautista’s Drax, and others.

Check out the official trailer for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 below:

Rocket’s story is said to be the central focus of Vol. 3, as the sharpshooting, wise-cracking raccoon has a personal connection to the movie’s primary antagonist: Chukwudi Iwuji’s The High Evolutionary, Rocket’s evil creator.

High Evolutionary Reveal
Credit: IGN

While his fate in the upcoming threequel remains unknown for now, Gunn recently confirmed that Rocket’s mysterious past was supposed to be explored earlier in the MCU in the form of a Groot and Rocket-centric solo movie.

Speaking with io9, the director revealed that due to Vol. 3 focusing so heavily on Rocket’s backstory, he had considered compiling all of the story elements into a Rocket and Groot spinoff instead.

Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon
Credit: Marvel Studios

Gunn said that when it came time for the threequel, he asked himself if it was “going to be a Rocket and Groot movie or was it going to be Guardians 3,” ultimately deciding on the latter:

“I always thought it was a third movie thing because I thought we had to tell Peter Quill’s story first and then get into Rocket’s story. I think the only question was, was it going to be a Rocket and Groot movie or was it going to be Guardians 3—because initially, I was going to do it as Rocket and Groot.”

The director’s remarks beg the question: could this movie still happen?

Vin Diesel as Baby Groot
Credit: Marvel Studios

While Vol. 3 will mark the last Marvel collaboration for Pratt, Saldana, Bautista, and likely others, the future of Cooper and Diesel’s franchise characters remains in the air, as both actors have yet to reveal if they’re retiring from their MCU voiceover roles.

Fans have speculated that Rocket will meet his demise in the upcoming film, as posters seem to all point to tragedy for his character. Gunn only added fuel to the fire after interacting with a fan on Instagram, hinting at Rocket’s unsavory fate in response to a comment that reads, “hope Rocket dies.”

Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and Drax (Dave Bautista)
Credit: Marvel Studios

However, if Rocket and Groot both make it out alive in Vol. 3, it wouldn’t be beyond Disney to try and twist a franchise out of these two characters. Groot has already received his own solo series on Disney+, I Am Groot, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Disney refuses to give him up. 

Fans will discover what happens to Rocket and Groot when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arrives in theaters on May 5, 2023.

Would you be interested in seeing a Rocket & Groot spinoff movie? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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