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‘Gremlins’ Director Accuses Lucasfilm of Stealing His Character

Baby Yoga, also known as Grogu or The Child, is one of the most popular new additions to the Star Wars franchise. The character was a focal point in The Mandalorian and has become a fan favorite — but he does bear a certain similarity to the gremlin Gizmo, and Gremlins director Joe Dante has definitely noticed.

In a recent interview before some film screenings in San Francisco, Joe Dante did not hesitate to bring up Baby Yoda — a character that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni created together for The Mandalorian. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni told Vanity Fair that they “were very cautious” in designing Baby Yoda’s “goofy, ugly” appearance, but Joe Dante did not mince words.

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Baby Yoda Credit: Deadline

While describing his character Gizmo from the 1984 movie Gremlins, a Mogwai “who is essentially like a baby,” Dante immediately added the following: “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.”

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Gizmo (voice of Howie Mandel) returns in “Gremlins 2: The New Batch” (1990), directed by Joe Dante. Credit: Warner Bros. / datebook.sfchronicle.com

The Gremlins director didn’t indicate a desire to formally challenge Lucasfilm or sue over the use of a character who has such strong similarities to Gizmo, but his statement that Baby Yoda was “stolen” is certainly a decisive one. Gizmo was the main Mogwai (a friendly and adorable creature who turns into a dangerous gremlin if fed after midnight) in both the 1984 horror comedy film and its 1990 sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch.

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Zach Galligan and Gizmo (voice of Howie Mandel) in Joe Dante’s “Gremlins” (1984). Credit: Amblin Entertainment / datebook.sfchronicle.com

Ironically, Gremlins is getting its own new HBO Max series in the fall of 2o22, called Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, and someone from Lucasfilm and Disney will be part of it. The Mulan and Book of Boba Fett star Ming-Na Wen will be doing voiceover work for the series.

Have you noticed any similarities between Gizmo and Baby Yoda? Are you a fan of the classic Gremlins films?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!