Actor-turned-filmmaker Jon Favreau has applauded Disney bosses for holding back on releasing Baby Yoda toys until he introduced the character in his new Star Wars series.
The figure has become a must-have Christmas plaything for Star Wars fans after appearing in new Disney+ series The Mandalorian and Favreau is thrilled he was able to surprise devotees with his cute creation.
“I think that part of what people really value is to be surprised and delighted, and I think that’s becoming all too rare,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s very difficult to keep secrets about projects you’re working on.
“By holding back on that one product, we knew that we may have had the disadvantage of not having toys available day and date, but what we got in exchange was an excitement surrounding the character, because everybody felt like they discovered him together.
“That emulated more what my experience growing up was like. Disney understood the value of it. I felt that if we really wanted to connect with the Star Wars fans, we had to let them discover the story as it was unfolding. The marketing team and the leadership were all supportive of what my instincts were, and I think it paid off really well because now people are excited to tune in every week to see what happens.”
Yoda, the film franchise’s all-knowing sage, has appeared in many of the Star Wars movies, voiced by puppeteer Frank Oz, and Favreau admits it’s a dream come true to take a look at his species:
“Yoda, the character that we grew up watching, was always shrouded in mystery, and that was what made him so archetypal and so mythic. We know who he is based on his behavior and what he stands for, but we don’t know a lot of details about where he comes from or his species.
“I think that’s why people are so curious about this little one of the same species.”