Baby Yoda may have to pay his dues to another adorable creature: Gizmo.
“Gremlins” and “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” director Joe Dante dissed “The Mandalorian” for “shamelessly” modeling Baby Yoda off Gizmo, the lovable young Mogwai from his creature feature, 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 voicing Gizmo.
The franchise is getting an upcoming animated installment with the HBO Max series, “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai,” with Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, and James Hong voicing characters. Dante is consulting on the series.
“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.”
Baby Yoda, or “The Child,” was introduced in Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” in 2019. “Star Wars” creator George Lucas set out to confirm Baby Yoda would receive a “proper amount” of Jedi training in the series to fit the film canon. Baby Yoda’s real name is Gorgu, and the Child has ties to Ahsoka, played by Rosario Dawson in another upcoming eponymous series.
Built by Legacy Effects, the rod-controlled puppet became something of a meme throughout the pandemic, something cute to hold onto in hard times. But while “Mandalorian” head Jon Favreau specifically wanted to avoid cuteness with the character, it ultimately couldn’t help but be adored.
Regardless, it seems like “Gremlins” director Dante won’t have to worry about Baby Yoda popping up in other “Star Wars” films, though. Writer/director Taika Waitit is setting out to “expand” the “Star Wars” universe with a currently untitled feature.
“I don’t think that I’m any use in the ‘Star Wars’ universe making a film where everyone’s like, ‘Oh great, well that’s the blueprints to the Millennium Falcon, ah that’s Chewbacca’s grandmother,’” Waititi, who previously lent his voice to “The Mandalorian,” summed up. “That all stands alone, that’s great, though I would like to take something new and create some new characters and just expand the world, otherwise it feels like it’s a very small story.”
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