You don’t have to be a huge Marvel fan to know that the catchphrase “I am Groot” is spoken by a plant-like humanoid named Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books and movies. For those who watch the feature films, Groot, who just landed his own series of short films at Disney+, was known to derive from the planet X.
But did you know that back in 2016, Marvel Comics writer and Nuyorican Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez offered up an alternative origin story for the extraterrestrial tree when he co-wrote a one-off story as part of the Marvel anthology series Guardians of Infinity?
In Miranda-Rodriguez’s narrative, Groot is described as a ceiba tree, the national tree of Puerto Rico. The ceiba has a longstanding mythology within indigenous cultures, including with the Taíno people who believe the souls of the deceased inhabit the tree.
Abuela Estela, a Puerto Rican grandmother in the comic, explains that she knows Groot is a ceiba tree because she “can feel the spirits of our ancestors inside of him.”
“Many of our Taíno ancestors died when Puerto Rico was colonized,” Abuela Estela tells her grandson in the comic. “They were a spiritual people, very much in tune with nature.”
In the comic, Abuela Estela puts her hand on Groot’s head and says, “You’re not evil. You are the ceiba, and you are the vessel of all our ancestors.”
The comic ends with abuela, her grandson, Groot and Fantastic Four’s Thing saying, in unison, “¡Yo soy Groot!”
Everyone’s favorite little tree, Baby Groot, will star in a series of shorts on @DisneyPlus featuring several new and unusual characters.
— Disney (@Disney) December 11, 2020