Joe Dante, director of Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch, stated in an interview recently that Baby Yoda—whose name in The Mandalorian is Grogu—is a copy of Gizmo, the star creature of Gremlins.
"The Gremlins" director Joe Dante says that Baby Yoda from #TheMandalorian was "completely stolen" from the lovable Mogwai Gizmo "and is just out-and-out copied. Shamelessly, I would think." https://t.co/NAbcOP2vt3 pic.twitter.com/U2MnNsBfIo
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) July 14, 2022
“I think the longevity of (the films) is really key to this one character (Gizmo), who is essentially like a baby,” stated Dante in an interview with 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,” he added.
Some fans have taken to Twitter to point out the similarities.
Valid criticism from the director of Silence of the Hams. 🙄
Grogu looks like what Yoda's species might look like as a "baby." Maybe Gizmo was just a fuzzy Yoda?https://t.co/CeKcvBrRbB
— Tom Gehrke 😷 (@tomgehrke) July 17, 2022
While the two characters have similarities in appearance, the Disney+ character is much more of a “baby” version of the Yoda species from Star Wars. Fans quickly noted the similarities and gave the character the nickname “Baby Yoda” before the Child’s official name was released.
The Mandalorian’s executive producer, Jon Favreau, stated in an interview that Dave Filoni, the show’s executive producer/director, also took inspiration from Steven Spielberg’s E.T. when sketching ideas for the show. “Dave had done a sketch of kind of a Michelangelo/E.T. moment, and that was a source of inspiration,” Favreau said, according to Dateline.
“Then, Doug Chiang and the whole art department started generating drawings of it, and the Legacy [Effects] people built it,” Favreau added.
Gizmo has gone to court before. Furby, an electronic plush toy, was said to resemble Gizmo a little too closely. In 1998, Hasbro paid Warner Bros. a seven-figure sum and agreed to bury the settlement, according to Variety.
The filmmaker reportedly stated that he believes Gizmo to be more than just an inspiration for Baby Yoda; however, he has no plans for any lawsuits, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.