There’s no denying the cuteness of the little one, but the sudden demand for merchandise has caught everyone off guard. Just as the creature is protected by the titular Mandalorian bounty hunter on the Disney+ series, Lucasfilm protected the green toddler by withholding his appearance from the usual licensees. While the secrecy kept spoilers from hitting the web, it also stifled the development of the almighty merch.
Last night, Walmart opened preorders for The Child 11-inch Vinyl Head plush, only to take down the listing this morning. Adding to the unusual nature of the Child’s merchandising launch, the previously unannounced toy is from Mattel — not Hasbro, the longtime master licensee for the franchise. This is likely the first Star Wars toy that Mattel has produced outside of its Hot Wheels range. Set to ship on May 25 — a date recognized by many as “the real” Star Wars Day — the product description invites fans to “fully embrace the cuteness of the 50-year-old Yoda species with this adorable, 11-inch plush toy. He may look like a Baby Yoda, but this lovable creature is referred to as the Child.” The huggable figure features a roto-vinyl head, sparkling glass eyes, and a soft body with a sturdy bean-filled base. The Child arrives specially packaged in a hover crib.
Last week, Funko added to the Baby Yoda buzz with a cryptic tweet indicating the pending arrival of the Child. Now, it’s official as our little green friend is available to preorder from EE as a standard size Pop! and a 10-inch super-sized Pop!. The sculpt appears identical on the two figures aside from differing expressions on the mouth.
“It was important to us that the reveal of the new character, the Child, be a special moment for fans, and we could not be more thrilled with the response,” says Paul Southern, senior vice president of licensing and franchise at Lucasfilm. “Today, we’re excited to release new products for preorder, and are continuing to work closely with our licensees and retailers to roll out additional items including toys, collectibles, plush, games, apparel, and more, allowing fans to celebrate the newest addition to Star Wars.”
Products from Hasbro will start hitting shelves later next year, offering a range of items from the Black Series and Vintage Collections to all-new, unique expressions of the Child. More items from shopDisney and LEGO will debut in the months ahead.
Additionally, Buffalo Games is already in the mix with its Star Wars The Mandalorian — The Child 500-piece Puzzle, available for preorder on Amazon.
Indeed, Baby Yodamania is in full effect, and it even has a theme song thanks to Nerf Herder frontman Parry Gripp. Listen to “Baby Yoda (Floating in a Pod)” once and you’ll be listening to it all day. It beats “Baby Shark” any day!
Photos: Disney+, Mattel via Walmart.com