Baby Yoda Merch Is Going to Rule 'Star Wars' Marketing (But Not Right Away)
If you know what we’re talking about when we say “baby Yoda,” then you’ve obviously been watching "The Mandalorian" (or spending enough time on Twitter). If you don’t, then this article might be a little bit confusing. And it means you’re behind on “The Mandalorian,” and we don’t want to spoil anything for you.
So, there’s your warning.
On the first episode of the flagship Disney+ show, the eponymous character is ordered to track down a bounty. When he arrives, he finds out that it’s a tiny, adorable “baby” (it’s actually 50 years old) version of whatever species Yoda was.
This little critter joins the Mandalorian on his travels throughout the next episode, either floating alongside him in his hovering crib-type deal, eating alien frogs or using the force to lift giant creatures off the ground.
He has become the centerpiece of “Mandalorian” talk on the internet, and he has fallen into the category of the cute, child-friendly characters of the Lucasfilm universe that will no doubt come with a whole line of merchandise.
In the original trilogy, you had the Ewoks. They were basically teddy bears with primitive weapons. In the prequels, you had Jar-Jar Binks, who, for better or worse, was everywhere. The latest trilogy gave us the Porgs, which are little penguin-like things inspired by actual puffins at the filming location.
All of those were used heavily in marketing materials, particularly for children. And, the internet being what it is, hype grows quickly and things become the craze du jour. Baby Yoda is having that moment.
If we were into gambling, we’d just about bet the farm that we’re about to see a ton of Baby Yoda merch. There's gonna be backpacks. There's gonna be apparel. There's gonna be stuffed animals and figurines and probably some sort of horrifying lollipop candy.
Heck, we might even see Baby Yoda more than we see certain main franchise characters, as Disney has been known to kind of ignore crucial characters on posters and other merchandise.
i hope baby yoda had a good day and he was warm in his big coat and he got all the cuddles and naps. pic.twitter.com/KbVPU7TWBJ
— rachel leishman (@RachelLeishman) November 18, 2019
But, here's the biggest news of all of this. Writer/creator Jon Favreau wanted the character to stay under wraps until people saw the show, which won't release its final episode until Dec. 27. Because of that, don't expect any Baby Yoda merchandise this holiday season. This is actually pretty surprising and a display of impressive restraint on Disney's part.
“There are characters that aren’t part of the promotional material,” Favreau said, according to Games Radar. “I have to thank Disney and Lucasfilm, because the way the cat usually gets out of the bag with that stuff is merchandising and toy catalogues and things like that.”
It's true. Disney has been pushing things like those Sith Troopers, which we still know nothing about aside from the fact that they are red and will presumably be in "The Rise of Skywalker." So, Favreau's request that Disney keep his little bundle of joy under wraps until its big reveal was smart for the integrity of the show, but it's certainly missing a big merchandising opportunity in the immediate future.