Fighting to Keep The Child From Being Too Cute

Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni have revealed how they fought to keep the character of The Child in The Mandalorian from being too cute.

How The Mandalorian Fought to Keep
Baby Yoda From Being Too Cute

Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni on the making of Baby Yoda—and why they didn’t want the creature to be overly adorable.

When Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni set about making the first live-action Star Wars TV series, they faced plenty of pressure and a myriad of challenges—including sky-high fan expectations. But rather than buckling, Favreau and Filoni decided to make the process of developing The Mandalorian just a little harder on themselves by choosing a laconic, almost entirely helmeted gunslinger as their protagonist—and not even Boba Fett, the laconic, helmeted gunslinger audiences were already familiar with. “At its core,” Favreau explained in a recent call with Vanity Fair, “we knew it was a gamble.”

Like any seasoned gambler, though, Favreau and Filoni also had an ace up their sleeves. “We had a guy in a mask,” said Favreau, “and we had a puppet.” An irresistible, green, Force-wielding puppet they named “the Child,” though the internet instantly christened it “Baby Yoda.”

“We could have adjusted if we felt that we had guessed wrong,” Favreau continued. “But we were pretty happy with the outcome.”

The idea for an adorable young “padawan” iteration of Frank Oz’s iconic, white-haired Jedi master came to Favreau early, as he was daydreaming possibilities for a project he might pitch to Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm. When he brought the idea to his friend Dave Filoni—who had worked for years both alongside George Lucas and then on his own as a mastermind behind the successful Star Wars animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels—Favreau couldn’t have known that he’d landed on maybe the one idea in all of the galaxy that might be off-limits.

Other than the brief appearance of a Yoda-esque character named Yaddle in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Yoda had been a unique figure in the wide wide world of Star Wars storytelling. His green, bat-eared species doesn’t even have a name—which is very unusual for a franchise that loves to label every critter in sight. “I had thought, even back on The Clone Wars: I bet young Yoda is something that would come up at one point,” Filoni recalled. He even mentioned the notion of a “very, very young Yoda” to Lucas. “But there’s always a hesitation around it,” he continued “We try not to reveal things about where Yoda’s from and what he is, exactly.”

You can read the full interview at Vanity Fair.

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