Ever since The Mandalorian debuted as one of the opening-day original offerings on the Disney+ streaming service back in November of last year, the hysteria over The Child – a 50-year-old toddler of Jedi master Yoda’s species imaginatively nicknamed Baby Yoda by Star Wars fans, that was, coincidentally or not, born around the same time as Anakin Skywalker – has thoroughly engulfed the Internet. So much so that The Walt Disney Company has been scrambling to shut down the many bootleg merchandise listings that have popped up across Etsy and other online outlets.
The plethora of handmade collectibles emerged in response to a marketing gap created when Disney elected to maintain absolute secrecy around the character, who was only publicly revealed when the pilot episode actually aired on November 12th. Consequently, the company had no line of official merchandise ready to roll out for the holiday season, a decision that cost them an estimated $2.7 million but which Mandalorian creator and writer Jon Favreau has since praised, saying:
“I have to thank Disney and Lucasfilm, because…they really back us up. We really wanted to have it be that…every time you watch the show, there are new twists and secrets that come out. … Part of that was holding back on some of the merchandise and holding back on some of the characters.”
Now that The Child is fully out of the Arvalan bag, however, Disney is cracking down on those enterprising vendors in preparation for the launch of its own wave of licensed products. One such item is the official Pop! Vinyl figure from Funko Inc., which the company unveiled by way of its official Twitter account earlier this week.
The wide-eyed, pointy-eared creature stands in his thick-collared robe, manipulating the Force even in his relative youth with a diminutive three-fingered hand. The figure stands 3¾ inches tall, and is a miniaturized version of the 10-inch figure that had already been made available for pre-order. No release date for the Pop! Vinyl has been announced, but other Child products – including The Black Series 1.1-inch collectible action figure and a series of various 2.2-inch figurines – are slated to become available this May, while the 16½-inch life-size doll created by Sideshow in partnership with Legacy Effects is expected sometime in the fourth quarter of the year.
The Mandalorian‘s first season of eight chapters is available to stream on Disney+ now and the story of Baby Yoda and the bounty hunter Din Djarin will continue this October when the series returns for its second season, which will reportedly also provide some insight into the surprising resurrection of a certain villain in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.