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The Child

Star Wars: The Mandalorian
by yo go re

Break out the chiccy nuggies and choccy milk!

In the film Mean Girls, the character Gretchen kept using the term "fetch" to describe an outfit or whatnot that was cute and appealing - in other words, something that was "fetching." However, she was the only one who ever used the new abbreviation she'd invented, so her bossy friend Regina George told her to "stop trying to make fetch happen!" Anyway, this is Baby Yoda, and Disney needs to stop trying to make "The Child" happen.

Introduced in the first episode of The Mandalorian on Disney+, Baby Yoda was a total surprise. In the era of leaks and set visits and gossip, everybody managed to keep Baby Yoda's existence a surprise right up until the second he appeared onscreen. Even more alarming, the internet managed to not spoil him for at least a week or so, which in internet time is the equivalent of the Sphinx being buried under the sands for millennia.

Part of the secrecy was that, like Baby Groot, the studios didn't tell any of their licensees the character existed. So at 3:36 a.m. on November 12, 2019, when the world immediately fell in love with the character, every company had to start scrambling to get the wheels turning.

(There were a few grumps who claimed the intro of Baby Yoda was nothing but a crass marketing move, but the decision to withhold info from the licensing partners disproves that - with no merch ready to go by Christmas that year, experts estimate Disney may have lost nearly $3 million in revenue.)

[But hey, at least the people who could crank something out on Etsy got some nice cash before the holidays, right? --ed.]

The first products to hit stores were apparel, because printing an image on a shirt is fast and easy. Then came the doll from Mattel and the POP! from Funko, but finally the action figure is here! He's sold in a tiny box, just like the porgs were. Much to the confusion of fans new to our hobby, Baby Yoda is done in a 6" scale - that doesn't mean he's 6" tall, it means he's sized to interact with figures that are 6" tall. He himself is a little over 1⅛", because he's a baby... whatever Yoda's species is. Back when George Lucas was in charge of Star Wars, he insisted that Yoda was the only Yoda there was, and that other aliens who appeared to be of the same species (Yaddle, for instance) just weren't. Win one for Disney!

If Baby Yoda is really 50 years old (as Werner Herzog's character claims), that would mean he was born at just about the same time as Anakin Skywalker. It would also mean that actual Yoda was only, like, 18 when he died, so maybe they should have given a little more thought to this whole "slow aging" thing. Baby Yoda is wearing his little brown sack dress thing, with its thick, folded collar and large wrinkles. His head, hands, and even the feet under the robe are all separate pieces, sculpted apart from the body of the toy, not just parts painted.

Baby Yoda moves at the head, shoulders, wrists, and ankles, and all of them are balljoints. Did he really need to be able to move his little feet? No, but isn't it more fun that he can? The joints pop apart too easily, perhaps, but they go back together just as simply.

He comes with three accessories, each more losable than the last! Hasbro is so sure you're going to lose these things, they're all inside a separate plastic box inside the tray. In order of "now where did I put that thing?", we've got the frog he likes to eat, the little memetic brown bowl he sips his soup out of (though that's none of my business), and the knob from Mando's stick shift. That last one is like 1/16 of an inch in diameter! The original solicitations said there would be four accessories, suggesting we'd also be getting his floating bassinet, but no such luck.

Two things unite all Star Wars fans: disdain for The Rise of Skywalker, and love of Baby Yoda. This is a cute figure, but it's a glorified accessory, so don't expect too much from him.

-- 06/28/20


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