'I am Groot.' Are you really, though, Baby Groot? (Marvel Studios)
Groot, a tree-like humanoid, sacrifices himself at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) to shield his fellow Guardians, killing himself in the process. His death broke the hearts of superhero nerds around the world. However, there was still hope since the Guardians left a cutting from Groot’s body to grow, which transformed into ‘Baby Groot’ (pictured).
But was Groot still alive? Director James Gunn quashed this hope in 2018 by confirming that Baby Groot was, in fact, technically Groot’s son, not a resurrected form of Groot.
Botanist James Wong, through a thread on Twitter, claimed otherwise. He argued that Groot was as a genetically identical clone who lived on in Baby Groot through asexual reproduction. This doesn’t sound quite right.
First, we have to step away from botany to philosophy. To counter Wong’s point, there can only be one Groot, who, as character and an anthropomorphised plant, is a single person with a unique identity: he’s not merely a plant you chop into two. As soon as there are two beings there are two separate identities, leading separate lives, like twins, as duplicates.
So sorry, nerds, and sorry, anyone else who hopes to live on as a clone: you can’t.