Gremlins Director Thinks Baby Yoda Is ‘Shamelessly’ Stolen

By Jessica Lerner 

Baby Yoda is near and dear to our hearts–and if not, the Child should be. But not everyone is enamored with the impossibly cute, wide-eared creature as we are.

Gremlins director Joe Dante thinks Baby Yoda, introduced in the first season of The Mandalorian on Disney+, is “completely stolen” and an “out-and-out copied” from Gizmo, the fuzzy little Mogwai of his two Gremlins films, the 1984 horror comedy Gremlins and the 1990 sequel Gremlins 2: The New Batch.

“I think the longevity of (the films) is really key to this one character (Gizmo), who is essentially like a baby,” Dante told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Which brings me, of course, to the subject of Baby Yoda, who is completely stolen and is just out-and-out copied. Shamelessly, I would think.”


Shameless or not, we can see Dante’s point. When stacked against each other, Baby Yoda and Gizmo share more than a few similarities. Physically, both creatures are small and cuddly and have wide protruding ears. Both communicate with coos and gurgles and are at the heart of the adventures led by a group of humans. Finally, they are one of the most popular and adorable aspects of their respective franchises that shouldn’t be overlooked.

And while we can see the resemblance, The Mandalorian showrunners have cited other inspirations for Grogu: E.T. and the film Paper Moon.

Baby Yoda is a big reason for The Mandalorian’s success, becoming a fan-favorite character after the Star War series premiered.

But we shouldn’t discount Gizmo or the Gremlins franchise’s place in pop culture, as the films have become a cultural phenomenon in their own right. So much so that this fall, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, an animated series on HBO Max, will debut. James Hong, BD Wong and Ming-Na Wen will all lend their voices to the show.