Around the world, people have been quarantining themselves in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in streaming services seeing massive surges in popularity, with the popularity of Disney+'s The Mandalorian resulting in "Baby Yoda" toy sales seeing major increases. In hopes of keeping the character a secret ahead of the series' debut last November, Disney held off on revealing any collectibles honoring the character, with the coronavirus also reportedly causing complications with the distribution of these toys, with the recent surge in sales likely causing more setbacks with those attempting to celebrate the adorable character. However, several of the toys are still available to order at the time of writing.
"We clearly have seen that streaming has become more of a force in making connections with consumers and driving merchandising," Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner shared with Yahoo Finance earlier this week. "That's always been a question: could streamed content drive merchandising? And clearly Baby Yoda has done that. We saw that in the fourth quarter with some of our product directly related to The Mandalorian. Our pre-sales around Baby Yoda have been incredibly robust and we're very excited to ship Baby Yoda late spring."
Another unexpected result of the coronavirus is that various films have altered their in-home debut, with both Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Frozen II landing on Digital HD earlier than they initial release dates. This will likely add even more toy sales to the already growing market.
"We're seeing that overall Star Wars sales are performing well year-to-date, because the movie [The Rise of Skywalker] was incredibly popular, and then the home entertainment window has come more quickly, as has Frozen 2," Goldner pointed out. "Disney has advanced those windows and made those home entertainment windows available to consumers more quickly on Disney+. We clearly see Disney+ as a major advantage to Disney and also to licensees of Disney like Hasbro."
While many fans were disappointed when The Mandalorian debuted and no toys were available, series creator Jon Favreau appreciated that Disney was willing to help keep the character a secret.
"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 explained to Collider last year. "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."
Season Two of The Mandalorian is set to debut on Disney+ in October.