Baby Yoda Was “Completely Stolen,” Gremlins Director Says

Filmmaker Joe Dante, best known for directing the 1984 hit Gremlins and its 1990 sequel, has fired shots at Disney and Lucasfilm for taking an uncredited inspiration from his work in creating Baby Yoda. In a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Dante says Baby Yoda’s is “completely stolen” from the lead Gremlin, named Gizmo.

“I think the longevity of [the Gremlins films] is really key to this one character [Gizmo]who is essentially like a baby,” said Dante. “Which brings me, of course, to the subject of Baby Yoda, who is completely stolen and is just out-and-out copied.”

While some fans may counter that Yoda first debuted in the Star Wars franchise back in 1982, it wasn’t until 2019 where Baby Yoda–in the show, referred to simply as “the child”–makes his debut in Season 1 of The Mandalorian. Despite Dante’s harsh words, he insists he doesn’t hold a grudge and will not be lawyering up.

As it is, Dante is plenty busy these days consulting on the long-awaited Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai for HBO Max–expected to debut sometime this fall. The animated series features the voices of Ming-Na Wen (The Book of Boba Fett), BD Wong (Jurassic World Dominion), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), and James Hong (Everything Everywhere All at Once).

The series is a prequel to the movies, and is set in 1920s Shanghai. It focuses on Sam, who grows up to be the elderly shopkeeper from the first movie, and his friendship with the mogwai Gizmo as they embark on a series of adventures. Riley Green, a power-hungry English businessman, is attempting to capture Gizmo and harness the creature’s powers.

In 2020, original Gremlins writer Chris Columbus shared that he has completed a script for a potential third film. “I would love to do it. I wrote a script, so there is an existing script,” said Columbus. “I would still do it the same way–I would do it as tangible puppets, not CGI.”

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