Marvel Studios designer reveals Baby Groot’s Filipino origins
It’s confirmed. The fan-favorite Guardian indeed has Filipino roots. Marvel Studios visual artist Anthony Francisco unveils Baby Groot’s descent with nationalism and paternal inspiration.
Thanks to its cuteness, one little MCU hero has captured the hearts of Marvel fans. Before Baby Yoda made viewers swoon, Baby Groot had been throughout the galaxy. This Guardians of the Galaxy family member first appeared in the 2017 sequel of the movie.
Baby Groot’s character was so popular that Disney decided to make his own spinoff series on Disney+. During the D23 Expo, Disney announced their upcoming movies and series. In addition, I am Groot on the new Disney+ TV series list.
— IGN (@IGN) July 22, 2022
If Groot’s inspiration was in question, MCU Filipino artist Anthony Francisco shared details about this plant species from Planet X. The artist behind the character sat down at Mexipino Podcast and talked about some of his creations.
In the interview, Francisco revealed he took inspiration from his son and the famous Balete tree in the Philippines in designing Baby Groot. Moreover, he also added that the Balete tree is the major influence on Baby Groot’s form.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Anthony Francisco can still recall the first time he watched Baby Groot on screen. He said, “Yeah, watching Baby Groot on screen for the first time feels like I captured my son, and pretty much that Baby Groot is a little Filipino kid. I totally copied his body type.”
Inspirations for Baby Groot’s Design
The MCU artist also added that he wanted to use the Balete tree for Baby Groot’s design. And the final output has the same aesthetics as the mystical Filipino tree. Francisco said, “When he was four years old, I was like, ‘How else can I add more of my Filipino culture here?’ Even though he’s already a tree plant, I wanted to use a specific type of tree called the Balete tree in the Philippines. And there’s stories about that, the Balete tree where the White Lady resides.”
— MCU – The Direct (@MCU_Direct) September 22, 2022
Furthermore, the Filipino MCU artist clarified that the character’s origins didn’t just come from ephemeral imaginations. His paternal affection also plays a vital role in the character’s design.
Francisco said, “I just used some textures from that, and the way the roots kinda hang down, and the limbs and the internal parts of Baby Groot. Even the face, the cuteness of it, the wide eyes, this looks like my son.”
In addition, his nationalism also adds up to his design inspiration that bought one of the most beloved Marvel characters into life. Moreover, the Senior Visual Development Artist for Marvel Studios is known as the “Visual Father of Baby Groot.”
Anthony Francisco’s family migrated to America, where he spent his teen years. He later moved to Los Angeles, California. Francisco is also the mind behind the designs of Loki and Black Panther’s Dora Milaje.