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“Gremlins” director Joe Dante said Baby Yoda, or Grogu, from the “Star Wars” Disney+ TV series, “The Mandalorian,” was “completely stolen” from the Gizmo character featured in the movie he directed.
The film director is not planning on suing Disney and Lucasfilm, but says the Star Wars series “copied” the character from the 1984 movie.
“I think the longevity of [the films] is really key to this one character [Gizmo], who is essentially like a baby,” Dante told the San Francisco Chronicle in a recent interview. “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.”
Gizmo is the main Mogwai character in the horror comedy, “Gremlins,” and its sequel, “Gremlins 2: The New Batch,” which premiered in 1990.
Baby Yoda is a character introduced in the first season of “The Mandalorian” and was put in the series as an infant version of Yoda, who made his first appearance in the Star Wars film series’ “The Empire Strikes Back,” which came out four years before “Gremlins.”
“The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau said in an interview last year that Baby Yoda was inspired by E.T. but that a sketch from collaborator Dave Filoni furthered the idea.
“Dave had done a sketch of kind of a Michelangelo/E.T. moment, and that was a source of inspiration,” Favreau said at the time. “Then, Doug Chiang and the whole art department started generating drawings of it, and the Legacy [Effects] people built it.”
The “Gremlins” films will have a new animated series introduced this fall on HBO Max. “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai,” which Dante is a consultant on, features the voices of Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong and James Hong.