There's a hotly debated topic in Marvel circles about whether Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is adult Groot's son, or a tiny version of Groot himself, grown after (SPOILERS) adult Groot's body was destroyed at the end of the first Guardians movie.
In the film, Baby Groot weighed in on the topic, telling everybody "I am Groot", which wasn't very helpful. Guardians writer, James Gunn, also weighed in on the debate, saying that adult Groot is definitely dead.
He's been extremely clear on the topic.
"The internet is like Groundhog Day every time I point out first Groot died," he wrote back in February.
"Baby Groot has a different personality, a different body, no memories of adult Groot & adult Groot’s sacrifice actually meant something. New round of news stories & collective gasping again & again."
However, a botanist has now given his scientific perspective on the matter, hopefully ending the issue so we can sit back and enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy 3 without worrying the whole movie whether or not Baby Groot is an orphan.
Botanist, science communicator and self-described geek James Wong gave his thoughts on the matter last night in a Twitter thread. There's good news and bad news for fans of adult Groot.
To start off, the good news. There was no female plant involved in Baby Groot's creation, which means that if adult Groot is dead, baby Groot is at least a clone of his father.
So far, so "yay Groot clone". However, there are problems with this theory, as Wong points out.
Which (good news again) means there might be another awesome space alien tree out there that we haven't yet seen, meaning Baby Groot might not be an orphan.
Here's where Wong throws in some real hope for fans of adult Groot, however.
"Even Earth plants can process complex information about the world around them & retain it without the need for a centralised storage organ like animals need (ie a brain)," he writes. "If Baby Groot is a cutting, it is likely it retains Big Groot’s memories!"
As seen in the films, there's a chance he might be.
Although people have issues with that theory.
So, what hope can we glean from this thread? Well, there's a (slim) chance that Baby Groot retains his father's memories, making him at least part dad-Groot. There's also a chance that there's a mom-Groot out there that could help raise the unruly Baby Groot.
And, more definitively, adult dad-Groot is definitely dead. Sorry, folks. If you don't like it, don't get mad.