You'll Have To Wait For Official Baby Yoda Toys

Dec 5, 2019
Originally published on December 5, 2019 9:48 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

I'm really happy we're finally talking about this on the program.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: I know you are. I know you are (laughter).

GREENE: Baby Yoda. Baby Yoda, the new "Star Wars" creature on the Disney+ show "The Mandalorian" has become quite the sensation. Fans want their own Baby Yoda's. I know I do. But bad news from NPR's Mandalit del Barco - Disney's official merchandise is not going to be available until after Christmas.

(SOUNDBITE OF LUDWIG GORANSSON'S "THE MANDALORIAN")

DEL BARCO: Baby Yoda's debut at the end of "The Mandalorian's" first episode was a surprise. With big eyes and ears, the tiny green youngling makes small cooing sounds.

(SOUNDBITE OF COOING)

DEL BARCO: The creature learns to use the force, takes naps and follow its protector, the Mandalorian, who refers to it as the kid. The baby steals the show every time it appears.

AMAYA: Aw, so cute.

DEL BARCO: Fans of all ages, including my daughter Amaya, are gaga over Baby Yoda. Some have written love songs, like the duo Ice2Ice.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "DEAR BABY YODA: A LOVE SONG")

ICE2ICE: (Singing) Dear Baby Yoda, what to say to you. You have big eyes. We don't yet know your name. When you came across the screen, you cooed, and it broke my heart.

DEL BARCO: Fans will be heartbroken if they expect a Baby Yoda toy for the holidays. Mattel's 11-inch plush toy of the child, as it's known, won't begin shipping until February. Companies Mattel, Funko and Buffalo Games are only taking pre-orders for toys and collectibles.

Lucasfilm, which produces "The Mandalorian," said in a statement that it wanted to keep the new character a surprise. On the red carpet of the show's premiere, writer and director Jon Favreau told "Entertainment Tonight" he was glad Disney and Lucasfilm held off on releasing any Baby Yoda merchandise.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT")

JON FAVREAU: Because the way the cat usually gets out of the bag with that stuff is merchandising and toy catalogues and things like that. So they really backed us up, but that requires a lot of restraint.

DAVID LAZARUS: Favreau is correct that once you start getting into the production phase, the designs will come out, and people will try and glean spoilers and whatnot.

DEL BARCO: David Lazarus is the consumer columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

LAZARUS: I understand the caution, but nevertheless, that has to be outweighed by the millions that stand to be made from having a very cute, sweet, wonderful, cuddlable (ph) "Star Wars" character in everybody's Christmas stocking. The fact that they didn't anticipate that this was going to be a commercial goldmine is insane, and that they let this opportunity slip away strikes me as sheer madness.

DEL BARCO: It's reminiscent of 1977, when the original "Star Wars" movie came out. Toy makers were caught off guard by its popularity. Kenner responded by selling boxes of vouchers to redeem toys months later. Here's an old TV commercial.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: R2-D2, Chewbacca, Luke and Princess Leia, they're the "Star Wars" early bird set of figures. These four action figures are not yet available, but the "Star Wars" early bird certificate package is in stores.

DEL BARCO: Jon Favreau told "Entertainment Tonight" he had to wait for his "Star Wars" figures.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT")

FAVREAU: You know what my generation went through because they didn't have "Star Wars" toys available for the first Christmas. I got a voucher for Christmas in '77.

DEL BARCO: Today, some fans can't wait that long.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DEL BARCO: Online, you can find DIY videos demonstrating how to make Baby Yoda Christmas ornaments, crocheted hats and stuffed dolls.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Today I'll be showing you how to shape the face for Baby Yoda and how to shape the nose.

DEL BARCO: And those who don't want a handmade Baby Yoda off Etsy will just have to wait.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BABY YODA")

DAY BY DAVE: (Singing) Hey, baby, baby, baby, Baby Yoda, you're so much cuter when you're not full-sized.

DEL BARCO: Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.