MCU: Baby Groot’s secret Filipino origin revealed by Marvel artist
Marvel During Groot’s live-action tenure, the Marvel hero has gone through several design changes, ranging from adult Groot to fan-favorite Baby Groot. He later received his own series of shorts on Disney+ titled I’m Groot, which chronicled his adventures in the galaxy.
Although the focus has shifted to Baby Groot following the successful release of his Disney+ shorts, there are still mysteries associated with the character, such as its adorable design.
Now, new details about Baby Groot’s design have been revealed by the visual artist who helped create her live-action look.
MCU artist reveals origins of Baby Groot
Former Marvel Studios visual artist Anthony Francisco Mexippino sat down as a guest on the podcast to talk about how he pioneered the design for the MCU’s Baby Groot and how he lived with his son and Filipino culture like the ballet tree. were inspired by.
When asked about this inspiration, Francisco admitted that he “copied” his son’s body type in Baby Groot:
“Yeah, seeing Baby Groot on screen for the first time feels like I’ve captured my son now, and Baby Groot is a tiny Filipino baby… I totally copied his body type.”
The veteran visual artist then went on to explain the inclusion of the ballet tree in the character’s design, saying that he used “some texture” from the tree, while also talking about the resemblance between Baby Groot’s face and that of his son:
“When he was four years old, I was like, ‘How else can I add to my Filipino culture here?’ Even though that is already a tree plant, I wanted to use a specific type of tree called a balet tree. There are stories about the Philippines and its… the balet tree where the White Lady lives. I Just used up some texture, and the way the roots hang down, and the limbs and inner parts of Baby Groot. Even the face, its cuteness, wide eyes, it just looks like my son. “
Francisco last served as Marvel Studios’ Senior Visual Development Artist, working for nine years at the company. His previous works include characters such as Baby Groot, Loki, and Black Panther’s Dora Milaje.
The visual artist was born in Quezon City and raised in Cubao, Philippines. Francisco moved to the US at the end of his teen years with his family, who then settled in Los Angeles, California.
Francisco is also known as “Baby Groot’s visible father”.
An Incredible Tribute to the Philippines
Baby Groot’s surprising connection to Filipino culture will forever be etched in MCU history, and many would agree that this is more than enough reason for everyone in the Philippines to be proud of this tribute.
It is fascinating that a tree such as Balet was used as the inspiration for Baby Groot, especially given the grim history associated with it. For context, the ballet tree is notorious in Philippine folklore because it is known to be the abode of supernatural beings such as dwarves, tree demons, and the spirit of the White Lady.
Using ballet as a reference to Baby Groot’s design now gives the Haunted Tree a different context due to the playful and adorable identity of the MCU protagonist.
Plus, the fact that Anthony Francisco even used his four-year-old son as the basis for Baby Groot means that the character will be attached to him forever.
Hopefully, Marvel’s first Filipina hero, Pearl Pangan aka Wave, will one day make his debut to expand representation for the Philippines even further.
I’m Groot is now streaming on Disney+.