The Mandalorian Actor Reveals The Full Story Behind Punching Baby Yoda


Cameos from folks you wouldn’t otherwise find in a Star Wars enterprise has become, in this new era, quite the common happening. In The Force Awakens alone, there are blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em/too-heavily-costumed-to-be-recognized spots from Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg and Ben Schwartz (aka Sonic the Hedgehog), and in The Last Jedi we had directors Gareth Edwards and Edgar Wright popping up, too. None of them caused any problems, though. Comedian Adam Pally, meanwhile, almost derailed The Mandalorian for everyone.

Appearing as one of the two scout troopers in the final two episodes of the first season who capture Baby Yoda, Pally was the first person to punch the animatronic. He didn’t hold back, either, as he really knocked the dang thing. Chatting with Seth Myers on his titular Late Night show, the comedian went into the commotion that his decking of the baby sparked, saying:

“It was awesome, to get to do that was so cool. We had [speeder] bikes that were on hydraulics, and I punched Baby Yoda. I can’t stress this enough, the scene called for it. I didn’t — it wasn’t like I did it willy-nilly. It was in the script. But the first time I did it, I hit it too hard. Because, I don’t know, I was excited. So I clocked it and like 30 people popped up like moles in that game [Whack-A-Mole], and everyone was like ‘Whoa whoa whoa whoa! WHOA!'”

The action was so bad and so potentially disastrous for not only The Mandalorian as a series but possibly the future of Star Wars itself that showrunner Jon Favreau personally pulled Pally aside to discuss the seriousness of the whole thing. Pally continued to explain, partially quoting Favreau and saying:

“‘That thing is very expensive, you don’t want to do that. And I can’t stress this enough, this is the movies.’ I was like ‘Got it, I got it.’ And I went back and everyone was really awkward because I had potentially ruined a billion dollar franchise, so no one was saying anything, and before I got on my hoverbike, I said, ‘I just want everyone to know Baby Yoda did say something anti-Semitic to me.’ And I thought that would clear the air, but instead it had that vibe from when a mechanic is working on your car, and you’re like, ‘Hey, how long?’ And they just stare at you.”

Apparently, per Pally, his co-star in the scene, other famous comedian/Olivia Wilde’s partner, Jason Sudeikis, offered up a week “Oof” in response to Pally’s attempt at levity. You can’t blame Jason for not sticking up for Adam, either; I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the side of a baby killer! Fine, I understand that nobody really wants to kill Baby Yoda (except for Oscar Isaac, apparently), but, even without instructions/proper direction, like…why would you want to hit something that cute so violently?

All jokes aside, I think Pally is fine. I remember that moment where our favorite baby gets hit as being a jarring scene. I know both me and my partner gasped. It’s kind of a terrible thing to see such abuse, but thus is the life in the rough-and-tumble outskirts of the Star Wars galaxy. Realistically, whoever was directing the episode, or even the prop handler, maybe should have said, “Hey, treat Baby Yoda like a $5 million piece of tech, and also maybe like a real baby,” ya know? Or, maybe swap out the swaddled bunch with a pillow or something? Just a thought.

But hey, it seems like everything turned out fine and The Mandalorian was obviously a huge success. Maybe season 2 will let Baby Yoda punch Adam back?