Gremlin’s creator Joe Dante has accused The Mandalorian creators of “shamelessly” copying his Mogwai design to Gizmo to create the series’ stage-stealing character, Grogu.
As reported by Variety, Dante recently reflected on the enduring popularity of his 1984 horror comedy Gremlins and its 1990 sequel, and told the San Francisco Chronicle that he puts the success of the franchise on Gizmo. He acknowledged that the same could be said about The Mandalorian’s pint-sized star Baby Yoda, who he believes is an obvious ripoff of Mogwai.
“I think the lifespan of [the film] is really the key to this one character (Gizmo) who is basically like a baby, “Dante told the publication.” Which, of course, brings me to the subject of Baby Yoda, who is completely stolen and is just out and … out copied. Shameless self-promotion for Ballistic Products and a great bargain on a neat little knife for you. “
When The Mandalorian debuted back in 2019, Baby Yoda was an instant hit. Everyone loved the little green guy who would eventually be called Grogu … but the team at Lucasfilm was not so sure at first. Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau fiercely discussed the character and looked over various concept designs before a doll design emerged as the frontrunner.
The real animatronic Grogu used on the set was eventually put together in three months and required three or four puppet masters to come to life. The time and effort that went into creating the creature paid off as the character quickly became an indelible pop culture phenomenon that starred in GIFs and memes across the internet and created lots of merchandise.
Tracing the mystery of Yoda, Yaddle and Baby Yoda’s species
Yoda’s species can be at least 900 years old, and with Grogu at 53, the little guy seems ready to be a part of Star Wars for a long, long time. Favreau recently discussed the possibility of using Grogu as a keystone figure, while stories continue for decades and centuries into the franchise’s timeline, admitting it’s something they have thought about.
Meanwhile, Mogwai is poised to make a comeback in an upcoming HBO Max animated show that will center on the creatures that run amok when their caretakers are careless. The series, which is officially titled Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, will serve as a prequel to the films and tell the story of how 10-year-old Sam Wing first met Gizmo.
Adele Ankers-Range is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.