Over the weekend, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy had a sizeable presence Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. The studio unveiled a teaser trailer for the cosmic comic book movie to the convention center crowd, and the title promptly became a trending topic on Twitter. Though the film is already in production, casting continues, and the latest rumors point to actor Vin Diesel joining the growing cast of Guardians of the Galaxy. This bit of news isn’t official, but he revealed that he could voice the character of Groot, an intelligent, and large, treelike alien.
According to Cinema Blend, Diesel added a picture of Groot to his personal Facebook page without any explanation or clarification. He has since deleted the image, though that isn’t going to stop the wild speculation. About a month ago, Diesel took a meeting with Marvel Studios and super producer Kevin Feige to talk about joining the Marvel cinematic universe. Speculation emerged that he might play Dr. Hank Pym (a.k.a. Ant-Man), or the Ultron-created robot Vision in a future offering from the studio.
Diesel seems like a perfect for Groot, if this rumor does in fact turn out to be true. You may remember, the beefy New Yorker voiced the giant robot from Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant back in 1999. While the robot didn’t say much, Diesel still had to convey so much emotion and pathos from short sentences and words. When the iron giant says “Superman” at the end of the film, it still chokes me up every time. This ability would serve Diesel well playing Groot, who only really says three words: “I am Groot.” It’s not the word count that is important to the character, but rather his inflection, delivery, and the meaning he gives them.
Groot has the ability to rebuild himself, enhance his strength, and control trees, while being resistant to fire. Not a bad skill set. He’s also the smartest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, boasting a genius level intellect even with his limited vocabulary. Groot is also known as the “Monarch of Planet X,” and is best friends with Rocket Raccoon, a fact that should provide the film with its emotional center. If Diesel is ultimately given the part, Marvel should also cast Paul Walker as Rocket, so Guardians of the Galaxy would feature some heavy Fast and Furious-type bromance.
According to director James Gunn, the story revolves around an American pilot “who ends up in space in the middle of a universal conflict and goes on the run with futuristic ex-cons who have something everyone wants.” Guardians of the Galaxy also stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Benicio del Toro, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Olivia Lovibond, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close.