Thousands of hearts have been stolen by the charming Grogu, or Baby Yoda, who, with his adorable ways and a captivating little personality, is quickly becoming a modern icon and dethroning all of the other baby versions of popular film characters. Who exactly is Baby Yoda, why is he so popular and where and how can you meet him? Find out everything you need to know about Grogu, a.k.a. Baby Yoda from the Star Wars television show The Mandalorian.
Who is Baby Yoda?
It all started in 2019, when the Disney Plus streaming platform released the first season of the TV show The Mandalorian. In the very first episode, the titular protagonist, the Mandalorian, is assigned to a mission by a mysterious man known only as The Client (played by the acclaimed German film director Werner Herzog).
The mission involves tracking down and capturing an unidentified target. During the mission, however, the Mandalorian ends up saving the target from the attack of a bounty target droid IG-11 (Taika Waititi). The little creature saved by the Mandalorian immediately striked familiar to most of the Star Wars fans, who spotted the undeniable resemblance to Master Yoda, the iconic character from the original Star Wars movies. The adorable little being, whose real name we discover only in the second season of the show, was quickly ascribed a rather cute nickname – Baby Yoda.
The story of creation – who created Baby Yoda?
We might speculate that Jon Favreau, the showrunner of The Mandalorian TV show, had been thinking about creating this character for quite a few years. The filmmaker had previously expressed that Master Yoda was one of his favourite personas from the original Star Wars trilogy. He believed that at the core of what has become the cult of the little green-skinned character, was the fact that his origins and backstory were hardly known to the fans. Favreau decided to take advantage of this aura of mystery and place it in the centre of the concept for Baby Yoda character development.
However, there are many other reasons why Baby Yoda is a fascinating guy. Particularly, one cannot ignore his peculiar appearance and features – he is basically a cuter, smaller, wider-eyed Yoda. On top of that, Baby Yoda is not a solely computer-generated image, and more traditional methods, such as animatronics and puppetry, were used during his development. In that respect, Baby Yoda is actually an electronic puppet, although accentuated with computer-generated imagery (CGI), handled and controlled by two technicians. Apparently, one Baby Yoda puppet costs about $5 million to make.
Another key person who has largely influenced the definite direction of developing the character of Baby Yoda was the director Werner Herzog. The German filmmaker, and the director of such classics as Nosferatu the Vampire or Aguirre, the Wrath of God, in addition to appearing in the show himself as The Client, has contributed to the creative development of the production. To name an example, Herzog passionately opposed the idea of using CGI to create Baby Yoda, and is said to have called the producers cowards for considering it. His peculiar affection for the puppet and interaction with it during filming was remarked by other crew members and described as both strange and inspiring.
Reception of Grogu and the impact on popular culture
Some internet users from all over the world may be wondering what the deal with the Baby Yoda phenomenon really is, especially given that Disney Plus is not legally available in all the countries. But the thing is, even if someone hasn’t watched The Mandalorian, they would have likely seen the memes flooding the Internet, the gifs, and the ubiquitous references to the character, its quotes, and the show itself. The “Baby Yoda Meme” groups on Facebook boast hundreds of thousands of members, while dedicated fan pages have nearly 150,000 likes. Safe to say, Baby Yoda took over the Internet at his very first appearance, and it looks like the attention he’s receiving is not going anywhere.
Baby Yoda undoubtedly stole the show and became a global sensation. He has been (rightfully so) referred to as a ‘breakout character’, that is, a character who quickly gains a popularity much larger than initially expected. In the Star Wars universe, Grogu is a relatively new addition, but he immediately became one of the fan favourites. His phenomenon and remarkable popularity must have pleased the Disney producers – the memes breaking the Internet at the release of each episode made sure that the show was continuously talked about, discussed, and anticipated.
The Baby Yoda breakthrough was also a significant success in the context of the Disney Plus launch. In 2019, the available library of this streaming platform would hardly be called extensive, which means that Disney Studios were in a fairly urgent need to introduce a big title to attract more subscribers. Looking at the publicity gained by Baby Yoda, it’s safe to say that the mission has been accomplished. What’s next? Although there haven’t been any confirmed rumours regarding that, who knows, perhaps the adorable Baby Yoda will be given his own feature film?
Where and when can you see the lovely Baby Yoda?
By the end of 2020, Disney had already planned plenty of new projects and productions to enhance the variety of their streaming platform on a large scale, and they had indeed included the development of the Star Wars universe in full swing. Among the plans was the third season of The Mandalorian, although its release date and more details were rather vague, and Boba Fett – one of the characters from The Mandalorian – was given his own spin-off that ran earlier. Grogu and Yoda still managed to steal the show with their spectacular appearance in The Book of Boba Fett.
It wasn’t until September 2022 that Disney finally announced the release date of the long-awaited continuation of the Star Wars television show. The Mandalorian season 3 is scheduled to kick off sometime in February 2023. Though we don’t know the exact release date yet, considering that new shows or episodes are usually released on Wednesdays, you can expect the premiere of Baby Yoda’s new adventures to likely come on February 1, February 8, February 15, or February 22.
The Mandalorian couldn’t have possibly been such a huge commercial success or gained such immense Internet presence if it hadn’t been for Baby Yoda’s disarming charm. The little green tyke got absolutely everyone captivated, and granted a huge popularity to the show itself. We are looking forward to the new adventures of Baby Yoda and Mando.