August 22, 2014 2:26pm PT by Graeme McMillan
It's Official: Dancing Groot Is the Breakout Character of Summer
Internet, your prayers have been answered: As announced Friday on Twitter by Marvel Entertainment’s Ryan Penagos, Funko Toys will be releasing an official toy of Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dancing Groot later this year. Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” sold separately, of course.
It’s worth pointing out that the Funko toy doesn’t appear to actually dance; it's a static plastic toy, like other Funko releases. Note, however, that Penagos calls it “the first official Dancing Groot toy,” suggesting that others might be on their way — hopefully including a wiggle or two in its pot.
The much-anticipated news follows weeks of unofficial, fan-created versions being released online, whether as YouTube videos, Etsy creations or even manipulated versions of existing Funko toys — and comes exactly one week after Marvel took the unusual step of releasing the scene from the end of the movie online as a stand-alone video.
As director James Gunn explained in an interview with Empire, the sequence of the reborn tree dancing to the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” was originally shot as a post-credit sequence for the hit movie, but it ended up attached to the end of the main feature after the reaction internally at Marvel, leading to the creation of the actual post-credit sequence attached to the movie.
Both the rush announcement of the Funko toy and the fact that Marvel put the scene online just two weeks after the movie’s release are signs of Dancing Groot being the surprise breakout character of Guardians as a whole. Ahead of the movie’s release, most people expected Rocket, the talking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper to be the character fans would fall for, but apparently even the most sarcastic furry mammal can’t compete with a sentient baby tree with a taste for classic soul.