How Baby Yoda stole our hearts

Jackie Moghadam and Mutma Adebayo

 Disney+’s original The Mandalorian launched on the brand new streaming site about five weeks ago. Already, one particular character has piqued the interest of much of the show’s audience. This tiny green cutie patootie stole everyone’s hearts within the matter of one episode, first appearing in the final minutes of the series’ pilot “Chapter 1.” With the lift of a blanket, floppy green ears and shiny beady eyes appeared from underneath, catching our breaths and melting our hearts all at once. This being called Baby Yoda, to clarify, is not the actual Yoda (the show takes place after the fall of the Empire), but merely a 50-year-old infant of his species. Now, knowing this you may be thinking, “yeah he’s cute, so what? Why is he such a big deal? What’s with the hype about Baby Yoda?” The answer lies not only within the viewers but the makers as well. 

In all honesty, Baby Yoda probably wouldn’t be as cute if it had not been for computer-generated imagery (CGI). While Director Dave Filoni was making sure that Baby Yoda was just as much a puppet as he was CGI, he issued many callbacks to the original techniques in order to make Baby Yoda look as realistic as possible. 

The thing is, no one had expected Baby Yoda to be such a popular character. The fact that Baby Yoda rose to stardom with no product placement, unlike the Porgs who didn’t quite capture everyone’s attention, shows that the best thing to make your characters popular is to not expect it at all. The Porgs that made an appearance in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi did not strike the interest of most Star Wars fans and cast, including the main lead, Daisy Ridley stating, “I’m not a big fan of the Porgs.” There was a lot of forced product placement with them, and a failed attempt to make them an iconic favorite. All Baby Yoda needed to do was look cute in his hovering crib and suddenly he was everywhere. Baby Yoda has made his move on the general public and they are loving it. 

Much about Baby Yoda remains a mystery. From what we know, Baby Yoda has no real name. While he is called The Child in The Mandalorian, there is no information on any other name for Baby Yoda besides of course Baby Yoda, which he was dubbed by the internet. Much is left vague about his past as well, as no information has been on his background, home planet, nor his family.

Disney+ rose to the top as a streaming service, placing its revenue and popularity among other services such as HBO and Netflix. The Mandalorian, one of Disney+’s originals, has already gotten a head start as not only a good source of Baby Yoda memes, but a well-written and developed show. Starring Pedro Pascal as the Mandalorian himself, the show follows the journey of a stoic bounty hunter who got a little more than he was bargaining for, AKA a cute green sidekick. Unlike the films, The Mandalorian goes off the script of just the Empire versus the Resistance and leads viewers into a world of an outsider’s perspective. The Mandalorian is not in the fight, yet he is affected by the aftermath, and that’s what makes the story so compelling. 

One of the main reasons The Mandalorian gained so much popularity besides little Baby Yoda lies in with the common Star Wars trope of found family. Sure, every once and a while viewers want to see gory fights and angst, but what really charms the audience is a show of emotion and caring for other beings. Baby Yoda’s rescue serves as the drive for the plot, as he’s a defenseless child. There’s a good balance between action and emotion, making the show very well rounded and appealing to all audiences. One of the perks of a show such as this one is that not a lot of prior knowledge is needed to watch and understand what’s happening. Even if you haven’t watched any of the films and don’t know a lick of Star Wars knowledge, the plot is easy to follow and any important points are made by dialogue. 

The show has been a smash hit so far. With a consistent episode schedule, The Mandalorian and the cute Baby Yoda are surely not going away any time soon. Keep an eye out for the little green fellow, he’s sure to do some big things.