The Mandalorian Showrunners Explain the Problems That Came With Naming Grogu
When Star Wars: The Mandalorian debuted back in 2019, fans instantly fell in love with the creature that was soon nicknamed "Baby Yoda" by the Internet. While the character was referred to as "The Child" in the show and in official merch, fans could not shake the nickname. When the baby's name was revealed to be Grogu in the show's second season, a lot of fans struggled with the adjustment. In a recent interview with StarWars.com, The Mandalorian's showrunners, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, opened up about the struggles that came with naming the character.
Filoni explained, "It was good to have Ahsoka there cause she's a good balancing point ... Mando at first reacted like the audience. 'Grogu? That's strange.' But when he says it, Grogu looks at him. And I always related that to when I have a dog and the dog starts to learn its name. You say its name, it looks at you, it's the most heartwarming thing. And so when you see that he recognizes his name and that until Ahsoka says his name, that he probably hasn't heard it in a long time – it's like, how could you reject that?"
"That's the thing with Grogu," Favreau added. "He's like part-dog, part-human, part-reptile. He's a big mixture of everything... And also as he gets older, he won't outgrow the name. It's not a cute little name and then, you know, he's as old as Yoda and he still has a weird, cute name," he said with a laugh. "'Sparky.' You know, you don't want to be 'Sparky' and be like 600 years old. It was also hard because no matter what we named him, it wasn't going to be – it couldn't be – Baby Yoda."
Favreau also talked about revealing "The Child" in the first episode and creating the character's look.
"You have a responsibility for Star Wars, to George [Lucas] and to Kathy [Kennedy] and to the people who brought me in," Favreau explained. "And the audience. They're invested in these characters. And you have young people who are growing up with the characters and what they represent. You feel very protective of that, and trying to hold as high of a standard as you can. I think those moments – the Baby Yoda reveal was very organic to the story. And just the idea of surprising to make it a bit of a left turn to people's expectations that this was going to be a guy runnin' and gunnin' through the galaxy. That was a nice twist. And I'm really happy that [everyone] supported us keeping that a secret. We put the audience experience first there."
He continued, "He's cute, but he's a little ugly. He's ugly-cute ... He's adorable because he's not perfect. He's got the cheeks, but he's got like weird little pointy teeth and he's got weird peach fuzz. In our design, when he looked too cute, he didn't look right. We found that right balance."
The first three episodes of Star Wars: The Mandalorian's third season are streaming on Disney+.