What if I told you your best friend in the whole galaxy died three years ago? That’s exactly the fate of one of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Groot is dead. This little tidbit slipped out when Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was going back and forth with Entertainment Tonight producer Ash Crossan about a topic we’ve all been debating hotly lately: Whether it would be better to save a Porg from Star Wars: The Last Jedi or to save Groot. You know, the big questions.

One fan pointed out that “you can grow Groot back, as evidenced in your film. Once you kill a porg, it’s gone.”

That’s when Gunn dropped the bomb:


Normally, I hold a solid “don’t read the comments” policy when it comes to spicy topics, but this one is an exception, because people predictably lost their minds, challenging Gunn on facts about the movie he wrote with his own hands and then directed even as he delved further into it.

Gunn explained that Baby Groot doesn’t remember anyone – he’s a baby that has been with the Guardians for two months. Adult Groot, he explains, would know what button to push when it got down to it at the end of the second film.

This isn’t the first time he’s mentioned it, but the brevity of Twitter and the way it splits comments into individual statements like this makes stuff like this stick out more. Gunn talked about it last year in a Facebook post.

“Although I don’t necessarily think it’s obvious in Vol. 1, it’s important to say that if you exploded and a little glob of you started growing into a baby, I would not assume the baby is you,” Gunn said. “I do think it’s more obvious in Vol. 2, as Baby Groot has a different personality than Groot, none of his memories, and is much, much dumber.”

The two sides of the debate boiled down to something like, “of course he did,” and “I can’t believe you’ve done this.” Where do you sit? Do you accept Gunn’s answer, or is Groot the same Groot we know and love, just going through a phase as he grows back to adulthood? Did you end the first Guardians film saying “oh good, they saved him,” or “oh look, a new Groot?”