Disney+ was blessed with an out-of-the-box hit on launch day in 2019 with the arrival of The Mandalorian. Lucasfilm's first live-action TV series ever, the series was partially a hit because it gave the galaxy a lived-in feel for the first time. But it's secret weapon was Baby Yoda, a 50-year-old adorable tyke, and nameless "Child" of Yoda's people. The character was a sensation, and the Baby Yoda merch has been flying off shelves. However, it turns out the original Baby Yoda designs in The Mandalorian weren't nearly as cute. They were downright creepy.
The Mandalorian's phenomenal domination of the cultural landscape has made it the first feature of a new Disney+ series call Disney Gallery. The show is a deep dive into the making of different Disney series, and will undoubtedly have further seasons exploring shows like Marvel's The Falcon & the Winter Soldier and WandaVision in depth. These roundtables with the showrunner and the different creatives who worked on the program are a delight, with everyone from episode directors to costume designers weighing in on how the show came together.
The latest installment goes behind the scenes of "practical effects." For the uninitiated, "practical effects" are anything special effect-wise brought to life without CGI. Pyrotechnics for explosions, for instance, or fog machines to create smoke from a firefight. In the case of The Mandalorian, all puppets are practical effects, which meant this was, for better or worse, the Baby Yoda Episode.
And as part of the deep-dive into creating the Baby Yoda puppet, showrunner Jon Favreau revealed several concept art drawings the team went through in designing "The Child."
According to Entertainment Weekly, Jon Favreau said: "We got lots and lots of drawings. Some of them were too cute, some of them were too ugly, some of them were the wrong proportions."
Here are a couple more. The first feel closer to the CGI look of Yaddle in the prequel films. The second feels closer to the original Yoda puppet, but still too adult-like.
According to Favreau, this final sketch put the team on the right track towards the completed design.
[T]here was one image that Chris Alzmann did that had him wrapped up in what looked like a piece of a flight jacket. His eyes were a little weird, and he looked a little out of it, there was something a little off with it. But we found it charming, and that became the rallying image that we said, 'This is good.' And it developed from there.
Fans will get to see more Baby Yoda later this year. The Mandalorian Season 2 will arrive on Disney+ come October of 2020.