Baby Yoda. Grogu. Smol green bean. However you refer to them, one thing is for sure; we’ve all
fallen in love with The Child. The Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian first hit Disney Plus back in November 2019 and, the show did what many Star Wars movies could not – it quickly won over the notoriously hard to please fanbase. Was this down to its exploration of new planets, the authentic characterisation, or the bad-ass bounty hunter? Perhaps. But, it’s the smaller protagonist who really won hearts and minds.
His huge, searching eyes and his floppy ears; his cooing and his desire for mischief. The tiny Star Wars character brings out the parental side of tough guy “Daddy Mando” and in viewers, too. We know how powerful he could potentially grow to be. However, his vulnerability that comes with his age (he’s only 50 years old) is what makes us want to wrap our arms around him and protect him. Put simply, Baby Yoda represents the good in among all the chaos.
And there is literal science behind our desire to aggressively love on The Child. Katherine K.M. Stavropoulous PhD, has written an entire article about this phenomenon for Psychology Today. She explains: “Why do some of us feel completely overwhelmed with the depths of our emotions for a small green creature that doesn’t exist in real life? His cuteness can largely be explained by what Konrad Lorenz called the “baby schema,” which Lorenz used to describe a set of features that people find prototypically cute.”
“These features include: large eyes, small noses, small chins, and large heads,” Stavropoulous said. “In looking at Baby Yoda, it is clear that he has all of these features (plus those adorable giant ears that melt our hearts).”
So, for those of you sitting wearing your Baby Yoda socks and pyjamas, drinking out of your Baby Yoda mug and making notes in your Baby Yoda notebook… Your obsession has genuine science behind it. It’s more than mere fan service. We can’t help that we’ve fallen in love with him, it seems like we are programmed to.
The actual Grogu puppet is rumoured to have cost around $5 million to make (and worth every
cent). Director Jon Favreau is said to have insisted on a practical solution to a usually computer
generated Star Wars species. It is controlled by two technicians (the best job on earth, surely?).
His vocals are provided by a mix of adult and child sounds, as well as recordings of bat eared foxes (who have to have been the inspiration for those ears) and kinkajou. It’s this mix of facial features, adorable baby talk and his mischievous personality that has created the cult of Baby Yoda all over the world.
We’ve watched him experience hyperspeed for the first time, eat biscuits in school, and unwittingly unleash a shit-load of spiders. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve squealed with utter joy. It almost didn’t matter what else was happening in certain episodes, as long as Grogu was safe with Mando.
While the ending of The Mandalorian season 2 just about broke our goddamn hearts, you can catch glimpses of Grogu in The Book of Boba Fett, which is also streaming on Disney Plus. Happy Star Wars Day to all who celebrate!