Every once in a while, a creature comes along that is so innocent, so appealing, so heart-breakingly twee, its cultural impact is instantly overwhelming and undeniable. This specimen can melt the heart of the most cynical Tweeter and inspire devotion across Tumblr feeds and Reddit forums. We’ve seen it with Fiona the hippo, Dart from Stranger Things, and, inexplicably, the Babadook. And who could forget the time everyone lost their goddamn minds over the Porgs?
It should come as no surprise, then, that the Internet has eschewed all rational thought and sense of decorum over the debut of Baby Yoda. The character is the centerpiece of The Mandalorian, the new Star Wars live-action series and marquee offering from Disney+. The show initially billed itself as a galactic western about a masked bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) operating in a new world following the destruction of the Empire (for you casual Star Wars fans, this means it takes place after 1983’s Return of the Jedi). But an element of mystery emerged when Baby Yoda made an unexpected appearance at the end of episode 1. Someone wants the tiny green alien dead, and when the Mandalorian stops the assassination, he becomes guardian to the creature, its tiny floating bassinet, and force powers that prove quite useful in defeating the bounty hunter’s many enemies.
If the show’s tragic flaw lies in its denial of Pedro Pascal’s face, at least we have baby Yoda’s wide, all-knowing eyes to bring us comfort in these dark times.
In case your deep-seeded cynicism is crying, “I could never love a CGI creature!”, fear not; The Mandalorian co-star (and Star Wars neophyte) Werner Herzog confirmed Baby Yoda is, in fact, a “heartbreakingly beautiful” puppet that caused him to have an unexpected, deeply emotional reaction on set.
I’ve seen it on the set and it’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful. I saw two technicians operating it, remote—once was for the eyes and the mouth and the other one was for other facial expressions. It’s a phenomenal technical achievement and beyond the technological achievement, it’s heartbreaking…I don’t know. I only saw it on the set, I haven’t seen it in the movie yet, because I haven’t seen it yet. In two hours I’ll have seen it, I can answer it. But on the set it looked absolutely convincing. It made you cry when you saw it.
If Werner Herzog can’t validate your affection, you’re a lost cause.
Elsewhere on Twitter, people are expressing endless, understandable devotion to Baby Yoda.
And there were Very Good Jokes, too.
And potential crossover buzz…
And yes, it has its own parody Twitter account.
If you haven’t yet joined the Baby Yoda fandom, get in on the action before the meme becomes a relic, a pop culture artifact we use to remind ourselves we felt something mere
months weeks days hours ago.