‘Star Wars’ Never Tried To Hide That Baby Yoda Is Just Gizmo From ‘Gremlins’
Like some sort of intergalactic episode of Maury, everyone is now arguing over the lineage of Baby Yoda, AKA Grogu, AKA Werner Herzog’s puppet soulmate. Specifically, this is because legendary filmmaker Joe Dante (who directed classics like Innerspace and The ‘Burbs) claimed in a recent interview that Baby Yoda was “completely stolen” from Gremlins and is “shamelessly” derivative of Gizmo – you know, the adorable Mogwai who, like anyone over the age of 35, can’t eat anything after midnight without disastrous consequences.
Naturally, Dante’s interview sparked a predictable internet overreaction, with some claiming that Dante had slammed Baby Yoda with his harsh words.
Okay, first of all, this was seemingly just a tongue-in-cheek response to an interview question, not an intellectual property lawsuit levied at Lucasfilm, à la that guy who claimed to have created the Ewoks in a screenplay called “Space Pets.” Secondly, Dante isn’t wrong, because Grogu was specifically intended to be an homage to Gizmo.
This isn’t something that Lucasfilm has been reticent to admit; in the book The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian, the production team specifically describes their attempts to capture an old-school vibe with the show’s creatures, citing influences such as The Dark Crystal and Gremlins. Lucasfilm Concept Design Supervisor Christian Alzmann even mentions that they copied the “Gizmo flair” for Grogu’s proportions in order to give the show an “early-’80s aesthetic.”
The Mandalorian himself, actor Pedro Pascal, also once recounted that the first time he was shown concept art for Baby Yoda, he thought: “Okay, bye, Gizmo.” This line of thinking may have even bled into the storytelling of the show itself; the season two finale, in which Luke takes Grogu away to his (doomed) Jedi school –
– is not unlike the end of Gremlins, which finds Gizmo being reclaimed by his original owner.
Hopefully, this means that season three of The Mandalorian will take place entirely in a skyscraper and be randomly interrupted by Hulk Hogan at some point.
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Thumbnail: Warner Bros./Lucasfilm