Did you spend Thanksgiving arguing about climate change, Baby Yoda, impeachment, or if “OK Boomer” is a slur? In these trying times, there is one thing that can unite people of all stripes, and it’s streaming on Disney+. The first three episodes of the live-action Star Wars TV show, The Mandalorian are ready to watch, so to prepare for a post-Turkey Day binge, here’s everything you should know about Baby Yoda.
Who Is Baby Yoda?
The creature everyone is so preciously referring to as Baby Yoda makes its debut in the closing moments of The Mandalorian’s series premiere. The show follows an armored bounty hunter viewers know only as “The Mandalorian,” as he takes on a very special job. The titular Mandalorian, so named because he’s a member of the armor-loving people from the planet Mandalore, is—the show says—played by Game of Thrones scene-stealer Pedro Pascal, although he so far has not removed his helmet, so really it could be anyone under there. The Mandalorian is not Boba Fett, the similarly dressed bounty hunter from Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Anyway, the Mandalorian gets assigned to track down a 50-year-old target, because his client is associated with the now-fallen Empire (played, amazingly, by Werner Herzog) who needs the target for reasons that are as-yet unknown. When Mando gets to the planet, he discovers that the target is just a wee green baby with big pointy ears and adorable eyes. The species matures slowly, it would seem.
What Is Baby Yoda?
That’s an interesting question. Everyone has taken to calling it Baby Yoda because we don’t know what the famous Jedi master's species is. While pretty much everything about every other Star Wars alien can be found on Wookiepedia (Twi'leks, Rodians, Ithorians, Bothans, etc.) Yoda’s species is a mystery. Yoda and Yaddle, a female member of the race who also sat on the Jedi council in Phantom Menace, were the only two of their kind that fans knew of prior to Baby Yoda. And while there were a couple of others in the now-non-canonical Expanded Universe books and comics, we still didn’t know much about the species as a whole. We don’t know Baby Yoda’s species or name, and it wasn't until the third episode that we learned Baby Yoda's gender. It's a boy.
Where Did Baby Yoda Come From?
As of the first three episodes of the eight-episode series, we don’t know much about Baby Yoda's backstory. He’s almost certainly not Yoda’s baby or literally Yoda as a baby due to time-traveling, a plot device that the franchise only very carefully broaches in the cartoons. Baby Yoda is, per show canon, 50, which would make the timing difficult for a Yoda Jr. scenario, since Yoda Sr. was still sitting on the Jedi council and telling Anakin Skywalker how important it was to stay chaste.
There are a couple of other possibilities. Baby Yoda could have some connection to Yaddle—admittedly a very minor character in the series, but as the only other member of the species in the films, and one who disappeared after Episode I, it’s certainly a theory worth entertaining. Perhaps Baby Yoda is just another, unrelated member of the species. Or perhaps Baby Yoda is some sort of clone, possibly even of the original Yoda. Doctor Pershing, one of Herzog’s characters’ associates, was seen in a promotional image wearing a patch on his arm that resembled a symbol from Kamino, the watery planet from Attack of the Clones where the clone army was created.
It’s also unknown what the Imperials want with Baby Yoda, though it’s probably safe to assume it has something to do with the Force, since every member of the species we’ve met so far has been highly skilled in its ways.
Why Is Baby Yoda?
Whenever the Star Wars franchise introduces something that’s this weapons-grade cute, it’s tempting to say it’s a naked ploy to sell toys (see: Ewoks, porgs). That’s not necessarily a bad thing (Star Wars isn’t just for adults, toys rule), but Baby Yoda seems more important than that. For one, Disney and Lucasfilm kept Baby Yoda a secret ahead of The Mandalorian premiere, so the merch isn't very impressive, and Hasbro confirmed to Vanity Fair that it won't have Baby Yoda toys ready in time for Christmas. Baby Yoda was not part of the lead-up to the show's premiere. Given how Baby Yoda is Disney+’s breakout star (no disrespect to Forky Asks a Question), it feels telling that Baby Yoda wasn’t at the promotional vanguard.
Also, Baby Yoda’s existence teases the answer to one of the last real questions in the Star Wars mythos: What is Yoda’s species? The Mandalorian seems primed to tell us—in the cutest way.
When Is Baby Yoda Next On?
New episodes of The Mandalorian hit Disney+ every Friday, and each episode clocks in at around a half-hour in length. That means that, while you’re feeling like Jabba the Hutt, stuffed full of turkey and possibly hungover, you’ve got almost two hours of Baby Yoda to ease your suffering.
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Finished with cartoons and Marvel and Star Wars, and trying to figure out what to watch with your new Disney+ subscription? Look no further.
Originally Appeared on GQ