The biggest headline to come out of Disney Plus’ new television show The Mandalorian isn’t how badass the titular character is. Or the fact that it’s the first live-action Star Wars TV series. No no, the thing that’s taken the Internet and pop culture by storm is the adorable Baby Yoda.
For people like myself, this reveal was spoiled before I had a chance to watch the pilot episode because it was kind of hard to ignore on social media. Nevertheless, introducing a character that resembles one of the most beloved figures in the Star Wars universe presents lucrative merchandising opportunities.
But Disney has decided to do something interesting. They’re delaying Baby Yoda merchandise until after the holidays, and this decision is going to cost them roughly $3 million in sales as a result.
From a big picture perspective, that honestly sounds like pocket change to a giant like Disney. But money’s money. So why would they do this? Well, according to The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau, it was done to service the show.
“I have to thank Disney and Lucasfilm, because the way the cat usually gets out of the bag with that stuff is merchandising and toy catalogs and things like that,” Favreau told Collider. “So they really back us up. We really wanted to have it be that you had to watch it yourself, so that every time you watch the show, there are new twists and secrets that come out. That requires a lot of restraint from the people who are footing the bill, saying they’re gonna hold back on certain things so that the public doesn’t know ahead of time. Part of that was holding back on some of the merchandise and holding back on some of the characters.”
How Disney and Lucasfilm were able to keep Baby Yoda under wraps is astonishing in today’s age, but I’m sure for all of the diehards out there it was shocking and delightful at the same time. The character has become a sensation now, too, and is hanging out with famous celebrities and making its way into parody videos.
Of course, George Lucas made the majority of his Star Wars money from merchandising, so to see the company take a hit (albeit a small one) to surprise fans with a big reveal is pretty cool. Not to mention that we imagine they’ve got at least a few more surprises in store for us with the remaining episodes of The Mandalorian.