Joe Dante, the director of the 1984 monster movie Gremlins, has some strong opinions when it comes to the similarities between the designs of his franchise’s mascot, Gizmo and the adorable Star Wars character Grogu (aka Baby Yoda).
Since releasing back in the ’80s, Gremlins has been a staple Christmas horror movie, with a dedicated fanbase behind its name. Grossing over $12.5 million at the global box office, the flick would spawn a franchise, with its latest outing being the upcoming animated HBO Max series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. In a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle (via The Hollywood Reporter), Dante, who is serving as a consultant for HBO’s TV series, commented that the success of Gremlins is tied to the cute staple character in all of the franchise’s projects – Gizmo.
“I think the longevity of [the films] is really key to this one character [Gizmo], who is essentially like a baby.” The director went on to claim that the Disney Plus sci-fi series‘ The Mandalorian “shamelessly” copied Gizmo’s design.
“Which brings me, of course, to the subject of Baby Yoda,” Dante continued. “Who is completely stolen and is just out-and-out copied. Shamelessly, I would think.”
Representatives for The Mandalorian and series creator Jon Favreau haven’t commented on Dante’s statement yet. However, it should be noted that Favreau has previously discussed Baby Yoda’s influences and Gremlins wasn’t one of them.
Speaking with Deadline, Favreau revealed that Baby Yoda was inspired by the Steven Spielberg movie ET. There is also the fact that the character of Yoda was introduced to the world before Gizmo in the 1980s Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back.
Granted, Yoda was an old Jedi in The Empire Strikes Back as opposed to the young Grogu that we see in The Mandalorian. Still, Baby Yoda’s design first and foremost captures the original character’s essence.
So, without a firm comment from Favreau, assessing the validity of Dante’s claims regarding the case of potential Gizmo plagiarism beyond the realm of speculation is tricky. We will keep you posted as soon as Disney or Favreau release a statement about the matter.