No Mandelorian Spoilers, I promise
“Baby Yoda” is an image that as taken the internet by storm over the past few weeks, but what is so special about it that is making everyone forget how to act? To fully understand the impact of this adorable image, there is some cultural context that needs to be given.
First of all, who is Baby Yoda? Yoda is a very important main character in the Star Wars franchise. He is of an unknown species, and Baby Yoda appears to be of the same small green species. Disney+ has an original Star Wars series titled The Mandelorian, released on November 12th of this year. On this show, Baby Yoda (in the show it is referred to as “the Child”) is a central character. This show takes place after the events in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and follows a Bounty Hunter on some of his missions before coming across The Child.
Star Wars fans were already very excited about the new series, but the rest of the internet can’t get over the adorable creature. When users got their first look at Disney’s newest baby, they couldn’t hold it together.
What do we actually know about Baby Yoda? For now, not much. At this point in the series, The Child is a wanted figure by the underground members of the fallen Empire. We know that The Child can use the Force and this is the reason the audience is supposed to believe the Empire is interested in it. Since the majority of the series has not been released, we don’t know much more about The Child, so for now, we are left with baby-fever-inducing images of Baby Yoda.
The Baby Yoda memes appeared on everyone’s social media feeds as soon as it appeared in the episode. There are a few versions of the Baby Yoda meme. such as Baby Yoda holding “tea,” “Okay Boomer,” and a meme used to express adoration for someone/something.
Wow those are cute… anyway…
Why has Baby Yoda become a meme? Let’s be honest, because that’s what the internet likes to do. Baby Yoda appeals to a large audience because of its cuteness factor, and the captions are light and relatable, another thing the internet loves.
What makes Baby Yoda so appealing is the fact that the images of him are made to make you go “awwwww.” Similar to Disney’s use of Jack Jack, Baby Groot, every baby animal in Bambi, baby Dory, baby Nemo, I’m sensing a pattern here…
The audience of this photo is interesting to think about. Although people who are Star Wars fans are more likely to watch the series, the image is used to advertisements for the show and articles about the show. The use of this image as an attachment to ads and articles draws in a larger audience, regardless of if they have Disney+ or not, or if they are even remotely interested in Star Wars. Even my mom, who does not know what “a Yoda” is is obsessed with the Baby Yoda image. This is what makes Baby Yoda the most perfect advertising tactic for Disney.
Disney knew the Star Wars series would draw a lot of attention to their new service. Because of this, The Mandelorian series has not been completely released yet, unlike how Netflix releases full series to promote “binge-watching.” This prevents Star Wars fans from starting a free trial with only the intention of binge-watching the series and then canceling the trial (…I’m totally not one of those people…). The Baby Yoda image is the perfect way for Disney+ to pull in subscribers to the service. Disney+ is the only way you can watch the series, and after seeing the image it’s hard to say no to Baby Yoda.
This is a lot to unpack over a single image of an animated image of an alien baby.
But we know this analysis to be true because of the exploding popularity over Baby Yoda. There are thousands of results on Etsy for Baby Yoda related crafts, and there are official Baby Yoda Pop Figures available for preorder (although they are not going to be released until May of 2020). It is also next to impossible to scroll through a social media timeline without seeing Baby Yoda, even The University of Delaware sports Instagram page posted a Baby Yoda meme. This booming popularity is clear evidence that Disney’s marketing plot worked, and Baby Yoda has officially broken the internet.