Christopher Hastings guides the tiny tree on an interstellar adventure!

Groot has gotten himself lost. Lost and stuck in his baby-sized form. With the other Guardians of the Galaxy nowhere to be found, the tiny Groot must fend for himself in a strange world.

Thankfully, he does not have to do it all on this own. He has writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano in his corner for I AM GROOT, a new series coming this May.

Hastings took a break from his bonsai garden to discuss the series with us.

Marvel.com: As a writer, what is the creative draw of Groot? What challenges does he present?

Christopher Hastings: Well the initial draw is that he is hilarious and adorable. That “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” trailer is filled with amazing stuff I can’t wait to see, but the best part is Rocket trying to get Groot not to blow them all up. I’m really excited to put that little guy in all kinds of bad situations and see how he makes them worse.

The main challenge is of course Groot’s limited language. I’m trying to approach the story in a very specific way to make sure it’s not a hindrance, but actually part of what makes it fun.

Marvel.com: In the book, circumstances conspire to separate Groot from his teammates and he is stuck at small size besides. What’s the character’s state of mind as he finds himself alone on the planet?

Christopher Hastings: He’s scared at first. He’s basically a toddler who’s been separated from his family, and is immediately introduced to the strange new terrors of this unknown part of the universe. But that very quickly changes to an impulsive curiosity, driving him deeper and deeper into this weird land.

Marvel.com: Overall, how would you describe the tone you are trying to achieve for this title?

Christopher Hastings: I’m a big fan of stories where little kids have to navigate a weird fantasy land as some sort of metaphor for what’s going on in their normal life. In this case, I’m specifically thinking of “Labyrinth,” “The Neverending Story,” and “Return to Oz.” I’m also pulling a lot from the dreamier Zelda games—“Link’s Awakening” and “Majora’s Mask.” There’s a lot of story in those games, despite the fact that Link can’t even say, “I am Link.” We’ve got a massive advantage there with [I AM GROOT].

Marvel.com: How does artist Flaviano’s work on the book help you to realize that tone? How does his style complement your scripting?

Christopher Hastings: I’m really asking for strange settings and characters that will all tie into a core mystery of this forgotten world Groot’s landed on. Flaviano’s got exactly the kind of thoughtful and specific design mentality that’ll flesh it out perfectly. The characters are so expressive. They can charm you or unsettle you just as easily.

Marvel.com: What kind of supporting cast might readers expect to encounter in this title? Any villains in the early going?

Christopher Hastings: Like I’ve said, there’s an old secret to this planet that’s been completely forgotten, but leaves little hints scattered about. Early characters that Groot [meets] are scavengers, just trying to survive with bits and pieces of abandoned technology and infrastructure. It’s not a great situation, but it’s one they’ve learned to be comfortable with. And Groot’s just going to mess all that up in his quest to return to the Guardians.

As for a villain, there are higher status forces who have a more active approach to keeping things as they are on this planet, which simply can’t be if Groot is to return home.

Marvel.com: Speaking directly to fans, why is I AM GROOT one that they’ll want to buy?

Christopher Hastings: This is a book for anyone who wants to see more of this new really funny, really cute Groot, but pushed to the edge, completely on his own. It’s also for anyone who wants to read the words “I am Groot” a lot.

I AM GROOT #1 by Christopher Hastings and Flaviano plants its roots on May 24!

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The most organic Guardian of the Galaxy gets his own ongoing series!

So we’re all in agreement: Groot is the best, right?

If you consider yourself a Groot fan—and really, how can you not—you’ve got a lot to look forward to, because he’ll soon get his own series! In the upcoming I AM GROOT #1—coming this May—our hero will find himself stranded on a strange planet, trying to make his way home.

We chatted with writer Christopher Hastings about what we can expect.

Marvel.com: It’s really interesting that Groot is getting his own series, given the way he communicates. Have you found it challenging to think of ways to convey his emotions and experiences without ordinary dialog?

Christopher Hastings: Groot’s lack of communication definitely poses a challenge, but I’ve really made it a point to tackle everything from that position, not to try and ignore or work around the problem. I’m really making it a point that the story works with his character, and that he finds himself in situations where he can clearly show emotional reactions, even if he can’t express something that more complex language demands.

Marvel.com: We’ll find Groot in a very vulnerable position: smaller than normal, and on an unknown planet where he has difficulty communicating with people. How did you go about exploring how he would handle this kind of situation?

Christopher Hastings: Groot certainly feels vulnerable on this scary world we strand him on, but I consider this little Groot a very impulsive character, so we won’t see him quivering in a safe cave for the length of the series.

And without Rocket, he does get very frustrated trying to talk to people. Part of his quest will involve finding a way to get others to understand that he wants to get back home.

I also try to explore how other characters interpret Groot. We often see him through the lens of the Guardians he spends time with, especially Rocket. How would someone who doesn’t know him interpret his intentions?

I Am Groot #1 cover by Marco D'Alfonso

I Am Groot #1 cover by Marco D’Alfonso

Marvel.com: Groot has so much heart. Would you consider it particularly hard for him to get separated from the others?

Christopher Hastings: Of course! He’s a little kid tree. He feels devastated. All he wants is to get back to them, and he has no idea how.

Marvel.com: Everyone loves Groot! What do you think makes him so lovable?

Christopher Hastings: I think something about the oblivious glee he puts out there. I see him as a troublemaker, but you can’t get mad at him!

Marvel.com: Groot will need to find his way to the center of this new world. Without giving too much away, what challenges will he face on his journey?

Christopher Hastings: Like I said, Groot’s a little troublemaker. And the planet he lands on has remained in a sort of stasis for a very long time. The creatures that still live there would rather that stasis not get disturbed but…Groot doesn’t care! Groot wants to get home! He’ll upset everything to pull it off. But he definitely needs to figure out a way for people to understand what he says first.

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease or mention anything else?

Christopher Hastings: When I pitched the story, I mentioned that I envisioned it as something like “Labyrinth” or “Return to Oz.” A lot of that vibe comes from really fantastical location and character designs. We just started getting the first bits of artwork in from the series artist, Flaviano, whom I consider more than perfect for the job. This book will look totally unique. And he clearly knows how to make Groot as adorable and funny as possible.

Get your fix of adorable adventure with I AM GROOT by Christopher Hastings and Flaviano, kicking off this May!

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