Here's Why Baby Yoda Toys Took So Long To Arrive

This is the way... to make a bunch of Baby Yoda toys, months after the show has ended.


For months, it's been a bit shocking to see the disconnect between the popularity of the Baby Yoda character from Star Wars: The Mandalorian and the sparse amount of official, licensed merchandise available. It seemed, based on initial impressions, that Disney was unprepared for the character's wave of popularity.

But at the Disney+ Star Wars Product Showcase in Manhattan on February 20, it was revealed that the delay in Baby Yoda merchandise was purposeful. Series creator Jon Favreau wanted as few people to know as possible; putting massive toy orders into production, for example, would create too many possibilities for leaks.

"We sat down with Jon about two years out," said Paul Southern, senior vice president for licensing and franchise at Lucasfilm. "He brings out this big box and says, 'I'm going to show you The Child,'… And then we talked about the idea that we were going to do no development on the ground until after the show aired, and we talked around that for a little while… we came to terms with it, but it created some challenges for us."

Even within Disney's retail product chain of command, many high-ranking executives had no idea what the character was or looked like; even within the company, the assets were kept secret. They found out about Baby Yoda at the same time that we did--when Disney+ launched--and had to play catchup.

"I was definitely in the dark; I was after the lockdown, so I didn't know about the character until I saw the show myself," said JoAnn McLaughlin, senior vice president of brand merchandising and product design at Disney. "So I was one of those people who had that magical moment… The next day was all-hands-on-deck: 'How are we going to get this done?' It was really exciting."

The latest Baby Yoda merchandise, which includes toys, clothing, apparel, accessories, and electronics, will be released at steady trickle over the next several months. The crown jewel is Hasbro's large animatronic plush, which coos, giggles, blinks its eyes, and wiggles its ears. It retails for $60 and is available for pre-order now.

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