Gremlins Director Says The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda Design Was ‘Completely Stolen’ From Gizmo

When The Mandalorian premiered in 2019, the series reveal of “Baby Yoda” was an immediate talking point among not only Star Wars fans but seemingly everyone. Having gone on to become a pop culture icon, Baby Yoda aka Grogu has become one of the most loved new Star Wars characters to join the franchise for decades, but one person who isn’t completely on board with the little green creature is Gremlins director Joe Dante.

Gremlins is still considered an almost perfect movie, a fantasy horror that gave the world a cute, cuddly Mogwai called Gizmo and hundreds of mischief-making, slimy Gremlins intend on causing mayhem and destruction, and its Christmastime setting has seen it become a festive staple in TV schedules. It is clear to see that Gizmo and Grogu have a number of similarities, with large pointed ears, big eyes and a vocabulary of cute noises. While Grogu obviously draws a lot of inspiration from Star Wars icon Yoda, Dante has a belief that there was also a lot of Grogu’s design that was “completely stolen” from Gremlins. He told San Francisco Chronicle:

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“I think the longevity of [the Gremlins films] is really key to this one character [Gizmo], who is essentially like a baby. 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.”

Just like many people will compare a frog puppet of any description to Kermit, there may be similarities between Gizmo and Grogu that cannot be denied, but how much of that was “inspired” by Gizmo and how much is coincidental is always going to be up for debate.

Grogu Could Have The Same Longevity As Gizmo

Having been taken to the public’s hearts, there is clearly a lot of love out there for Grogu, and it is likely that his Star Wars appearances are a long way from being over. As Gremlins approaches its 40th anniversary in 2024, the movie is as iconic now as ever, and a new animated series, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, is about to hit HBO Max. Even though there has been constant talk of Gremlins 3 being in development, for now the franchise is branching into TV streaming, but Joe Dante believes that the popularity of Gremlins all started with the theatrical experience. He explained:

“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,” the filmmaker admitted. “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. I’ve seen these pictures over the years many times all over the world, and they always play well in a crowded theater.”

Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai will premiere on HBO Max later this year, and Grogu will return next year in the third season of The Mandalorian on Disney+.