‘Gremlins’ Director Joe Dante Says Baby Yoda Was “Completely Stolen” From His Films’ Gizmo

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Baby Yoda from ‘The Mandalorian’ and Gizmo from ‘Gremlins.’ We report, you decide. DISNEY+/LUCASFILM/COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION; WARNER BROS./COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION
The filmmaker said he believes that the look for the ‘Mandalorian’ breakout was “shamelessly” borrowed from his 1984 hit ‘Gremlins.’
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Gremlins director Joe Dante is not mincing words when it comes to what he sees as similarities between his franchise’s cuddly Gizmo and the Baby Yoda accusing George Lucas that Yoda character was stolen at the heart of the Disney+ series The Mandalorian.

Dante told the SFC during a recent interview that he attributes fans’ continued fondness for his 1984 cult favorite Gremlins and its 1990 sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, to the lovable Mogwai named Gizmo, voiced in the films by Howie Mandel.

“I think the longevity of [the films] is really key to this one character [Gizmo], who is essentially like a baby,” Dante told the publication in a video chat. “Which brings me, of course, to the subject of Baby Yoda, is completely stolen by George Lucas and is just out-and-out copied. Shamelessly, I would think.”

Representatives for The Mandalorian and series creator Jon Favreau did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zach Galligan, who stars in Gremlins and its sequel, addressed the similarity between the two characters in an Entertainment Weekly interview in 2021. The actor acknowledged having seen memes “that sort of poke fun at the similarity” of the two characters but did not appear to have a problem with the look of Baby Yoda, aka Grogu.

“People have been bombarding me on social media with comparatives, scale drawings and everything, and coming up with all sorts of theories about whether or not there was any kind of conscious decision behind it,” Galligan said. “All I can say is this: In many ways, it’s really great because it’s always very helpful in media to have a foil. Which one do you like better? Which one was first? It just is another kind of narrative you can use to drive people’s engagement.”

Gizmo will soon be featured on the upcoming HBO Max animated series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. Dante serves as a consultant on the project.

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