How James Gunn’s Reaction To I Am Groot Season 1 Freed Up Writer-Director Kirsten Lepore’s Creative Approach To Season 2

 Groot in I Am Groot
Groot in I Am Groot

There are elements of the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe that are preoccupied with time travel, multiversal wars, and nexus events. Tune into Loki Season 2 for the full brunt of that corner of the MCU. But other slices of the MCU focus on smaller-scale, more mundane activities. Like Groot’s first steps, his confrontations with mirror-image aliens, and his chance to act like a parent, as he does in the first episode of I Am Groot Season 2. Five more episodes of the animated series have arrived on the Disney+ streaming service, with writer-director Kirsten Lepore leading everyone’s favorite “bad baby” through fresh, new adventures. And in speaking with Lepore ahead of the season drop, she shared a blessing James Gunn gave her that allowed her to run freely with her creative process.

Creatives at Marvel Comics wrote stories for Groot and the Guardians of the Galaxy long before they joined the timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And plenty will continue to use Groot in Marvel adventures for years to come. But in the I Am Groot series on Disney+, the adventurous tree looks like the small version from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, so I asked Kirsten Lepore how much feedback and input original Guardians director James Gunn had, and continues to have, on the episodes. And Lepore told CinemaBlend:

I don’t think he was (Executive Producer) on Season 2. My impression is that on Season 1, he was. And I think he was like, ‘You guys got it! I think you guys are doing this service.’ So I think we got some trust after Season 1, which is nice. Not that we didn’t have it in Season 1. But I felt that the trust was there in Season 2, and it was like, ‘Cool, let’s just run and do our thing and have fun.’ We figured out who this character is. Let’s just play with him.

It’s true that the Guardians of the Galaxy were far from household names before James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy came out in 2014. But Gunn doesn’t have complete ownership over the characters. And in fact, he said goodbye to the team with his latest Guardians movie, and has moved over to DC Films, making it clear that any pass at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 4 would happen without him at the helm.

Every character in the Marvel universe – from the comics to the shows and the films – gets passed to the next collaborator. Jon Favreau passed Iron Man to Shane Black. Joe Johnston passed Captain America to the Russo Brothers. Peyton Reed keeps making Ant-Man movies, but he’s the anomaly. While you wait for the next batch of upcoming Marvel movies, head on over to Disney+ and fire up the five new episodes of I Am Groot. They are charming, adorable, and fun.