This week will finally see the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and, above all else, will unleash Baby Groot on the world. Even before the movie hit theaters, Baby Groot is a smash and will surely explode in popularity after this weekend. But Baby Groot is a baby and will grow up. So the question then becomes, how old will Groot be the next time we see him in Avengers: Infinity War and will we ever see Baby Groot again after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?

SPOILER alert for anyone who wasn't at the Thursday night preview screening for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last night. In one of the five new post-credit scenes that run throughout the duration of the movie, fans got to see Teenage Groot for the first time, a brooding, mopey sprout who doesn't want to listen to his 'father' Star-Lord and is more interested in keeping his face buried in an iPad. Is this how we'll see Groot in Avengers: Infinity War? How long does this scene take place after the events in Guardians 2, because truth be told, Peter Quill doesn't look a week older than we last saw him before the closing credits. And with Infinity War taking place 4 years after the events of Vol. 2, will Groot be a full-blown adult the next time we see him? With his teenage years completely incapsulated in this one 90 second scene?

Yes, James Gunn recently confirmed that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 takes place after Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. That means Groot will be doing a lot of growing up between now and then. Probably. There are a lot of variables and uncertainties here, since we are dealing with movies we know very little about right now, but we can do some reasonable speculation.

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Starting with Avengers: Infinity War, we know that Groot won't be a baby, that much is certain. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 takes place just a few months after the events of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, which means that it is 2014 on Earth. Or roughly around the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, give or take a few months. That means when the Guardians finally meet up with their Marvel hero friends in Avengers: Infinity War, roughly four years will have passed since the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in which, we see Baby Groot. So he will at least be a few years older and not a baby.

Since it hasn't really been revealed how Groot ages when compared to a human, we can't know for sure how he will compare to the Groot we got to know in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, but he will be bigger and older. James Gunn has said that Groot was in his "college years" during the first movie, so he probably won't be quite at that point in Avengers: Infinity War, but he will still be older. So that leads us to the question of whether or not we will see Baby Groot again after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and how that could possibly happen. It can happen, but it seems somewhat unlikely.

For one, James Gunn has said time and time again that Baby Groot was not put into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 just to sell toys, as many have suggested. He was a real part of the story and not something Marvel made him put in the movie. Also, the Groot we knew in Guardians of the Galaxy is still kind of dead. Even though Baby Groot was made from his remains, Gunn also said that making Baby Groot a different Groot would make the first Groot's sacrifice more worthwhile. With that said, there is no reason that Groot couldn't get destroyed by Thanos or lose a fight with the Hulk in Avengers 3 or Avengers 4 and need to get replanted again. That would give us another Baby Groot to look forward to in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 as part of the Marvel Phase 4 line-up. But that doesn't seem likely, given that it would make Groot's death way less impactful. He would become a somewhat disposable character, were that to happen.

That said, these are comic book movies and you never know what can happen. There will be a lot of movies made in the future featuring Groot, so you never know how someone may find a way to work Baby Groot back in. You can get your fill of Baby Groot when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters this weekend. You can also look forward to a more grown up Groot in Avengers: Infinity War, which is set for release on May 4, 2018.

Ryan Scott