Marvel Universe presents us with many unique characters, and Groot is definitely one of them. One could argue that the whole “cast” of Guardians of the Galaxy is unique in its own way, but seeing a wholesome tree simultaneously charming everyone around him and then kicking villain’s backsides, makes Groot so much more interesting. His origin story is also quite interesting, prompting us to discuss Groot’s famous catchphrase, “I Am Groot!”
Groot belongs to a special alien species called Flora colossi, which populate the largest capital of branch worlds, called Planet. Arbor Masters rule the planet and the whole Flora colossi species, including Groot, at one point in his life. He cannot say anything besides I Am Groot because Flora colossi have wooden larynxes (voice boxes), which prevents them from speaking properly. In the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 movies, during a really emotional scene, Groot speaks differently for the second time ever in the MCU, telling his Guardians, “I love you, guys.”
Groot and his species are insanely powerful and intelligent beings despite their inability to speak properly, making their lore quite interesting. If you are interested, stay with us until the end.
What does “I Am Groot” mean?
First of all, what does “I Am Groot” mean? Well, we already covered that topic in one of our previous articles, and the conclusion was that I Am Groot is basically anything Groot means.
For example, if he is sad and wants to convey that emotion, Groot will say I Am Groot in a specific tone to his current feelings. In the MCU, some fans were shocked that Vin Diesel, a huge action star, was cast to portray the character, whose only phrase was I Am Groot.
Some fans were making fun of the fact that Vin Diesel is paid massive amounts of money for his portrayal of Groot, but if anyone doubted the reasoning behind James Gunn’s choice, they should definitely check out Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Even I was skeptical about this casting choice, but in the end, Vin Diesel’s portrayal of Groot made massive sense.
Groot’s speech in MCU strongly correlates to how he says those three words, which some understand, like his friends in Guardians of the Galaxy, and others don’t, mostly the ones that don’t know him. I always mention a standalone six-issue comic book run called Groot from 2015, where the Flora colossus first met Rocket in prison many years ago, and the Raccoon doesn’t understand him at all.
Rocket doesn’t understand him from the beginning because he doesn’t want to get to know Groot, who slowly but surely starts “worming” his way into Rocket’s heart, which leads to Raccoon eventually starting to understand him. We, as readers, don’t understand him as he speaks, but his internal speech or narrative is displayed in English.
Why am I bringing this last point up? Well, at the end of the comic book, we see Groot conversing with Jean Grey via telepathy, or better yet, they are talking through the psychic link in English, and the member of X-Men understands him perfectly.
So, yes. I Am Groot can mean many things; it’s up to others to understand Groot and his feelings.
Why Groot only says, “I Am Groot”?
Of course, this leads us to the main topic of the article. Groot only says I Am Groot because he cannot say any other word correlating with his species and origins from Planet X.
As we know, Groot is part of the plant-like species called Flora Colossi, which are extremely intelligent and powerful beings. According to the Marvel lore, Flora colossi species only converse through tones; hence why I Am Groot means many things.
Groot cannot speak normally because his species’ condition prevents them from talking physically. Their tight vocal organs are that way because of their “wooden” psychology, which limits the sound to only I Am Groot.
Only very few individuals could understand how Groot talks – with Guardians of the Galaxy and a few others in Marvel Comics. Guardians and Thor can understand Groot in the MCU because the Asgardian god confessed that Flora colossi language is an elective course on his homeworld.
My favorite reason for Guardians understanding Groot’s speech is hidden in the Marvel canon and James Gunn’s reasoning – only the closest friends and allies who want to know Groot for who he is could understand Groot.
This is established many times in comics, but when the MCU version of Groot told his Guardians, “I love you, guys,” we, as the audience, finally got to know Groot enough to understand him.
This was a wholesome and really emotional part of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 movie and a wrap-up of a great storyline that has been going on for nine years. So, yes, Groot might be saying “I Am Groot” to most beings, but the real meaning behind these three words could only be interpreted by the ones that know him very well – and since the last Guardians movie, we can understand him as well.