A beef is brewing between Baby Yoda and the Gremlins. Filmmaker Joe Dante, who popularized the Gremlins with his 1984 horror-comedy and its 1990 sequel, recently told the San Francisco Chronicle (via IndieWire) that Baby Yoda is nothing but a shameless ripoff of the eponymous creatures, particularly the lead Gremlin named Gizmo.
“I think the longevity of [the film] is really key to this one character (Gizmo), who is essentially like a baby,” Dante told the publication. “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.”
Baby Yoda debuted in the pilot episode of Disney and Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” streaming series “The Mandalorian.” The adorable creature’s presence helped the show break the pop culture zeitgeist over its first two seasons, the second of which revealed that Grogu is the real name of Baby Yoda.
The “Gremlins” franchise is returning this fall thanks to the HBO Max animated series “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai,” which Dante served as a consultant on. The series features a voice cast that includes “The Mandalorian” star Ming-Na Wen (“The Book of Boba Fett”), BD Wong and James Hong. Even with “Gremlins” coming to television, Dante maintains that the franchise became so popular because of the theatrical experience.
“Whenever I host a screening of either of these pictures, I always ask when I introduce it, ‘Raise your hand — how many people haven’t seen these movies?’ There’s always about a third of the audience, usually young, who haven’t seen the movies,” Dante said. “They’re somewhat different than the run-of-the-mill movie. They’re offbeat in a way that I think is one of the reasons that they’re still popular.”
“The people in my generation who loved movies love them because they saw them with an audience,” the filmmaker added. “I’ve seen these pictures over the years many times all over the world, and they always play well in a crowded theater.”
Baby Yoda will return in “The Mandalorian“ Season 3, although Disney+ has yet to announce a release date.