History is defined by ‘what ifs.’ What if man didn’t land on the moon? What if Isaac Newton didn’t discover gravity? What if, in a galaxy far, far away, Baby Yoda ended up looking like a round splodge that vaguely resembled a weeks-old cabbage? As new Mandalorian concept art shows, the iconic Star Wars character, (canon name “The Child") could have looked very different – and possibly changed the course of the Disney Plus show forever.
“We got lots and lots of drawings. Some of them were too cute, some of them were too ugly, some of them were the wrong proportions." Mandalorian co-creator and showrunner Jon Favreau told EW.
He’s not wrong. The first early stab at nailing the design of the Baby Yoda was… certainly interesting. Take a look and try to ignore the Giant Baby Energy radiating from its every pore.
Next, there’s the slightly more cat-like take on Baby Yoda. It’s certainly unique, but worlds away from what would eventually be one of last year’s biggest, cutest talking points.
The third one nears what would eventually become the finished version, though leans more towards the Steve Buscemi school of ‘How do you do fellow Padawans?’ instead of the mean, green, merchandise making machine that would become Baby Yoda.
Finally, they reached Baby Yoda – or something close to it. “There was one image that [artist] Chris Alzmann did that had him wrapped up in what looked like a piece of a flight jacket. His eyes were a little weird, and he looked a little out of it, there was something a little off with it,” Favreau recalled. “But we found it charming, and that became the rallying image that we said, 'This is good.' And it developed from there."
The evolution of Baby Yoda proves just how much work goes into character design – from its inception, to experimenting, to landing on something and refining it – and that creating an icon takes time, patience, and a Death Star’s worth of scrapped ideas. What if, indeed.