Cute, Baby Yoda Is

Trey Guillotine, Staff Writer

Jon Favreau’s latest show, “The Mandalorian” on Disney+, is already shaping up to be a strong entry into the “Star Wars” canon. Taking place between Episode VI “Return of the Jedi” and Episode VII “The Force Awakens,” “The Mandalorian” follows the adventures of a mysterious and skilled bounty hunter simply known as the Mandalorian. During one particularly difficult bounty, he discovers his objective is to retrieve a child of a mysterious species and hand it over to holdouts of the defeated Galactic Empire. Finding a source of empathy, the Mandalorian chooses to escape with the child and go into hiding until he can ensure its safety. While the premise of the space-western genre with gun-slinger with a rough exterior looking after an innocent and learning to love along the way is a bit cliche, “The Mandalorian” still manages to keep things interesting, action-packed, and intricately simple. But, the quality of the show isn’t what’s catching everyone’s attention.

The child the Mandalorian is protecting is adorable. The child, who fans have dubbed Baby Yoda, is probably the cutest thing since Baby Groot in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and fans cannot get enough of him. Despite the series being only four episodes into its first season, posts and memes about Baby Yoda have flooded the internet on social media, reddit, gifs, and he already has his own memes. Baby Yoda has even replaced Kermit in the “Kermit sipping tea” meme and the cat in the “woman yelling at a cat” meme. Even though the Baby Yoda’s name isn’t accurate, as Yoda died in “Return of the Jedi” (pushes up glasses), anyone who has spent even a minute checking their email on the internet has become familiar with the character. But what do we actually know about him?

“Move over Ewoks, Jawas, and Porgs, The Child is amazing,” says Erica Rosher, a fellow “Star Wars” fan I had the chance to speak with. “Baby Yoda’s existence has opened a new world of questions. Not only has [Darth Vadar] failed in eradicating all Jedi, but did Cal really succeed his mission in ‘Jedi: Fallen Order’? If the Child survives, does he appear in other media? If Yoda was 900 and the Child is 50, we have the potential for 800+ years of plot.” 

Baby Yoda is from a species that is still a mystery in the “Star Wars” canon. After some research, it is the fifth member of its race that we’ve seen, following Jedi Master Yoda from the entire “Star Wars” saga, Master Yaddle from Episode I “The Phantom Menace,” Master Vandar from the RPG “Knights of the Old Republic,” and Master Oteg from the MMORPG “The Old Republic.” Despite this handful of characters that have been present in multiple “Star Wars” titles ranging from 1980 to present, there are only a few details available on this short, green, force-sensitive race. There is no name, no planet of origin, no information about its culture, or even what they like to eat, aside from seeing Baby Yoda capturing and eating frogs whole. What we do know is that their lifespan can last to almost 1,000 years, and their species is apparently strong in the force, as all the members we’ve been introduced to have been Jedi Masters, aside from Baby Yoda, who we’ve seen is able to use the Force, even at his young age of 50. According to “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, Yoda’s species was meant to remain a mystery, adding some unknown mysticism to the character. This could just be an excuse, however, for Lucas to not have to flesh out another alien race. 

Baby Yoda is not the first adorable member of the “Star Wars” galaxy. Throughout the films, books, TV shows, and video games, we’ve met Jawas, Ewoks, Porgs, Lothcats, and even the droid BB-8, which have all been met with varying degrees of acceptance. There have been some fans who have been enraged by the cute races of the galaxy far, far away, considering them nothing more than a cheap form of fan service and toy marketing. However, most fans, new and old, have been able to take some delight in these creatures while still loving “Star Wars” for the epic science-fantasy saga that it is.