With all due respect to the many Babu Frik fans out there, Baby Yoda of The Mandalorian fame remains easily the biggest breakout star of the Star Wars franchise this year, making it all the more unusual that we still don’t know the character’s real name.
Officially, the Mandalorian’s little friend is generally referred to as “The Child” or “The Asset,” but since neither of these titles are particularly catchy, the internet quickly came to know the guy by the more meme-friendly name of “Baby Yoda.”
That being said, the nickname has been met with some resistance, partly from fans who are quick to point out that “Yoda” is not the name of The Child’s species, but merely the name of the specific character from the movies. And while this pushback to “Baby Yoda” has largely been a losing battle, it seems that showrunner Jon Favreau is still reluctant to give the name any legitimacy.
During a recent appearance on The Star Wars Show, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger discussed the unexpected popularity of The Child, recalling the moment when he knew the character was going to be a hit:
“I think it’s exceeded our expectations, all of our expectations. But I knew, the moment I saw an early cut of the first episode, that we had something really special. And I just felt it. I’ve been in the business for 45 years, worked my way up through television mostly, [and I] remember times throughout my career in television when I saw either a character or an actor playing a character when you just knew.”
But while Iger was pleased to see Baby Yoda take off, he quickly learned to never refer to the character by that name when Favreau’s around:
“In this particular case, The Child, or The Asset — because we don’t refer to The Child or The Asset the way the world is referring to The Child and The Asset as ‘Baby Yoda’ — that’s a no-no. I got chastised, in my early emails to Jon Favreau, I referenced in my emails, ‘Baby Yoda.’ It just seemed easy. And I got my wrists slapped by Jon a few times. ‘It’s not Baby Yoda!’ ‘Okay, okay!’ [Laughs].”
Honestly, Favreau can fight this war all he wants, but if you asked someone who’s never seen The Mandalorian what they think of “The Child,” they’d probably have no idea what you’re talking about. By now, the people have spoken, and while “Baby Yoda” may not be what the character’s called in the Star Wars galaxy, it’s definitely what he’s known as in our world.