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.
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.