Here’s a surprise, while it seemed like most of the upcoming projects from Marvel Studios would remain as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they may be twisting that moving forward. X-Men ’97 already hinted at something as part of a different universe, but it seems the I Am Groot shorts might be their own thing as well according to producer James Gunn. While discussing the newly announced release window for the series, the Guardians of the GAlaxy director revealed that they aren’t necessarily part of the “Guardians saga” and went on to further elaborate:
It doesn’t really denounce that these shorts aren’t something that takes place within the larger MCU, but rather that it very likely doesn’t matter to themselves. In a way, it just exists in its own little pocket especially as it explores a time when Groot was during the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It wouldn’t be too surprised if it just exists as its own story that just happens to use elements from the original franchise that it technically takes place in it but still explores its own story without needing to connect.
It wouldn’t be too surprising, however, to see how Marvel Studios starts growing beyond its mainline franchise. They have introduced a multiverse of opportunities and it wouldn’t be too surprising that they start to explore standalone stories within the MCU that aren’t dependent on being part of its main storyline. Plus, these shorts have generally been more independent storylines that focused on telling some cute and funny jokes rather than be an ongoing storyline, as we’ve seen with Olaf quite a bit on his Disney+ journey.