We love Groot. We especially love when Groot dances. Luckily each Guardians of the Galaxy movie has given us a wonderful scene of Groot letting go. Writer and director James Gunn has provided the motion capture performance for Groot dancing in the past, and that tradition continued with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In an interview with The New York Times in May, Gunn said he once again performed motion capture for Groot dancing at the end of the film. Thanks to the below VFX breakdown (spotted on Polygon) from Framestore we get to see Gunn doing those sweet Groot moves.

At the end of the emotional movie, our heroes let loose on Knowhere and dance to Florence + the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.” It’s this beautiful scene of release after an intense journey—you just kind of sink into it. You’re dancing in your heart with all of them. And from what Gunn said about filming, it sounds like that part was equally impactful. He told the Times:

Yeah, and it was a high point in my life, really. My brother Sean is dancing for Rocket, and in the moment we were shooting the wide shot and dancing toward each other, it was surreal and beautiful and wonderful. We’ve been goofing around and playing with Fisher-Price characters since we were kids in our parents’ basement, and now we’re on the biggest set I’ve ever been on with gigantic Tinker Toys instead of smaller ones, but with that same purity and imagination we had as kids. Everybody was crying as it was happening. It was a really powerful moment.

James and Sean Gunn both dancing their hearts out as the Guardians trilogy comes to end? My heart cannot. When we talked to Sean Gunn in May, he described that moment as the culmination of everything. “That was very emotional for me, but it was also very cathartic, because it wasn’t some heart-wrenching stuff. We had already gone through the ringer with Rocket’s story, and digging in—we’d already done the digging. So in that moment at the end he’s really just letting loose, and I was able to do the same thing. It’s pretty cool,” he said.

A picture in picture of James Gunn standing in as Groot and dancing on the set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is streaming on Disney+ now. Have tissues at the ready.

Originally published on May 12, 2023.