Maybe you’ve heard about this whole “Baby Yoda” phenomenon. I don’t know how you could have missed it… the soup-sipping lil’ cutie has been all over memes, stuffed animals, tee-shirts, face masks, and even Colourpop’s latest eye shadow palette. But the wildest thing about Baby Yoda isn’t the way he’s become more popular than a pumpkin spice latte… it’s the fact that he isn’t even called Baby Yoda on The Mandalorian. All the official Star Wars merch calls him “The Child.” On the show, they call him “The Asset.” What gives?
The short answer is that “Yoda” is the name of a character, not a species, and the character we see on The Mandalorian is different from the Yoda we know and love from the Star Wars movies. Baby Yoda is not a younger Yoda the way Anakin Skywalker is a younger Darth Vader. Do people actually think this? I won’t judge you if you do, there’s a lot going on right now and this is pretty low prio, but they are in fact two different characters.
The Mandalorian takes place chronologically after the original Star Wars trilogy and the character named Yoda dies in Return of the Jedi, the Star Wars movie that previously held the “cute and cuddly” title because of all those fuzzy Ewoks. Yoda shows up later as a ghost, not a baby. So Yoda has been dead at this point, and unless Star Wars pulled a Barbra Streisand and cloned that kooky Jedi master, the child is not a literal Baby Yoda.
It is confusing because the child was born, according to an early episode of The Mandalorian, the same year as Anakin Skywalker. Regular Yoda was already a Jedi master when this little guy was born. He just ages really slow and has a really long life expectancy. Can you imagine being a baby for like fifty years? Sign me up TBH.
Apparently, Baby Yoda has a real name, but those fools at Disney thought it would be cute to withhold that information. What are they gonna name him now… Matt or something?! He’s called Baby Yoda because Star Wars fans say so, pretty much. Everybody took one look at that screen and squealed “BABY YODA” so loud that it couldn’t be ignored. What else are we supposed to call him?? There’s no name for this kind of alien, after all. While some Star Wars alien species names are known — Chewbacca is a Wookiee and Jar Jar Binks is a Gungan, for example—Yoda’s species has never been named in any of the Star Wars movies, TV shows, books, comics, or even trading cards. Seriously. Even if you do a deep dive on the internet and go to the Star Wars fan wiki, Yoda’s species is literally listed as “Yoda’s species.” Soooo helpful. Until further notice, he’s Baby Yoda. We do make the rules this time.
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