Groot’s journey through the MCU has been quite interesting, mostly due to the fact that he’s been shown in a different stage of life in nearly every one of his appearances to date. Guardians of the Galaxy started with adult Groot, Vol. 2 utilized the ever-adorable Baby Groot, that same movie finished with the moody Adolescent Groot that continued in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
In a Q&A session on his most recent Instagram story, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was asked if adult Groot will make a return to the MCU. Gunn replied that adult Groot “is no longer with us,” and that it’s unlikely he will come back “unless there is a prequel of some type”:
“Sadly that original Groot is no longer with us, so unless there is a prequel of some type we won’t see him again.”
Gunn took a major risk by killing Groot off in the Guardians’ first solo outing, which ended up being the only film to bring the full-grown humanoid plant into play. With Gunn confirming that this version of the character is “no longer with us,” there are a couple of different possibilities for what he could mean.