The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda is Gremlins ripoff, says Joe Dante

Dante argued that the image of Baby Yoda from the 1984 comedy Gremlins was “completely stolen.”

Baby Yoda may have to pay his dues to another adorable creature: Gizmo.

Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch director Joe Dante criticized The Mandalorian for “shamelessly” modeling Baby Yoda of Gizmo, the lovable young Mogwai from his creature movie, as he sees it. The 1984 classic was produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Chris Columbus, and starred Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, with Howie Mandel providing the voice of Gizmo.

The franchise is getting an upcoming animated sequel with the HBO Max series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, starring Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, and James Hong voicing the characters. Dante advises on the series.

“I think the longevity of [the films] is really the key to this one character [Gizmo]who’s essentially like a baby,” Dante told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Which of course brings me to the subject of Baby Yoda, who was completely stolen and just plain copied. Shameless, I would think.”

Baby Yoda, or “The Child,” was introduced in 2019’s Disney+’s The Mandalorian. Star Wars creator George Lucas went on to confirm that Baby Yoda would receive a “reasonable amount” of Jedi training in the series to fit the film’s canon. Baby Yoda’s real name is Gorgu, and the child has ties to Ahsoka, played by Rosario Dawson in another upcoming series of the same name.

The pole-controlled puppet built by Legacy Effects became something of a meme during the pandemic, something cute to hold on to during tough times. But while Mandalorian mastermind Jon Favreau specifically wanted to avoid cuteness with the character, ultimately she couldn’t help but be adored.

Gizmo, Gremlins



Regardless, it seems Gremlins director Dante needn’t worry about Baby Yoda appearing in other Star Wars movies. Writer/director Taika Waitit sets out to “expand” the Star Wars universe with a currently untitled feature film.

“I don’t think I’m going to be of any use in the ‘Star Wars’ universe if I’m doing a movie where everyone’s like, ‘Oh great, well that’s the Millennium Falcon blueprints, ah, that’s Chewbacca’s grandmother ‘” said Waititi, who previously lent his voice to “The Mandalorian.” “The fact that it all stands on its own, that’s great, although I’d love to take something new and create some new characters and just expand the world, otherwise it feels like a very small story.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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