Weeks after Disney issued cease and desist orders for dozens of pieces of unlicensed merchandise inspired by The Mandalorian’s adorable breakout character “The Child,” Sideshow Collectibles premiered a life-size version for pre-sale on Wednesday, promptly crashing the company’s website as orders flowed in. Sideshow restored its site to functionality shortly thereafter, offering squeeing fans the opportunity to obtain their own photorealistic version of Baby Yoda for the very first time.
Despite showrunners’ insistence that The Child absolutely is not an infant version of the Star Wars saga’s oldest, wisest and perhaps most grammatically-challenged Jedi, “Baby Yoda” instantly captured the hearts of fans after premiering in Chapter 2 of Lucasfilm’s flagship series for Disney+. He became a fan favorite overnight whose exploits social media users pored over, deconstructed and of course memed immediately into oblivion as the story of The Mandalorian Season One evolved.
Merchandising titan Disney failed to develop a series of toys and collectibles available for immediate consumption upon the character’s arrival, an inexplicable choice except possibly as some sort of deep-cut homage to the absence of action figures when George Lucas released the original Star Wars in 1977. Sideshow’s figure follows a handful of plush toys and other lightweight trinkets with a complicated and detailed replica of the animatronic puppet used by filmmakers to bring the character to life.
Sideshow assembled the 16.5” figure from fabric, plastic and resin, creating not only The Child’s trademark tan coat and diminutive frame, but the irresistible swell of his eyes and nuanced hues of green that pigment his skin. We’re not sure if the fact that he’s life-sized is adorable or creepy, but at best he’ll be the most unique garden gnome in your front yard, and at worst stare at you every night from a dusty shelf while you rewatch him in action on The Mandalorian. The retail price for The Child is $350.
The Mandalorian‘s release kicked off the launch of Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, not only with exclusive Star Wars content fans couldn’t find elsewhere, but a glossy, highly-polished adventure that felt authentic to the worlds created in the films. Disney felt so confident about its success that the company announced plans for a second season at the same time as the premiere of its predecessor.
Critics and fans loved analyzing the various influences, inspirations and Easter eggs in Season One’s eight episodes, but Baby Yoda became such a phenomenon so quickly that discussion of the character’s future became a dominant topic of conversation during press coverage for J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker, which took place decades after the events of The Mandalorian and had almost nothing to do with the show.
Disney premiered a plush version of The Child on the company’s website in late 2019 which predictably sold out almost immediately. Disney currently also sells several other Baby Yoda-branded items like espadrilles, tote bags and iPhone cases – a first wave of products before the company’s storied merchandising undoubtedly goes into overdrive. In which case, if a photorealistic version of this character isn’t your collectible of choice, what Baby Yoda item would you most like to acquire? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Photos courtesy Sideshow Collectibles.