Where did Baby Yoda come from? Chances are, we’ll never know the in-universe answer to this question. Outside of a galaxy far, far away, it’s pretty safe to assume — contrary to recent opinion — he wasn’t a direct copycat of a different franchise’s character.
Recently, director Joe Dante suggested in an interview that “Baby Yoda” might be a direct copy of Gizmo from Gremlins and its sequel. Forget the fact that the first movie released in 1984 when Yoda, the inspiration for Grogu, made his on-screen debut four years earlier in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back.
Grogu and Gizmo are sort of similar. Their names start with the same letter, for one. They’re also very baby-like — one of the reasons Grogu toys have arguably overpopulated the market is probably because of those irresistible big eyes, right? The similarities mostly end there. Aside from the fact that a lovable, seemingly huggable creature isn’t exactly a novel idea in cinema even outside of major franchises.
Did The Mandalorian “copy” Gizmo when it introduced Grogu? Certainly not in the sense that one franchise stole another’s character outright. Creators like Jon Favreau have decades’ worth of iconic films close to their hearts to draw inspiration from. Even if Favreau’s inspiration was that audiences, especially Star Wars viewers, might like cute things that have a darker side.
And let’s not sidestep the fact that there’s technically no grounds for copyrighting an idea. These two characters could have been inspired by similar themes, but there’s no way to directly and factually accuse Grogu of coming directly from a previous character. Characters in stories are frequently inspired by other characters from other stories. Writers insert their favorite ideas from their go-to stories into their own work, always have, and always will.
The more classic a franchise becomes, the more it will inspire modern franchises and the content created within them.
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