Gremlins director claims Star Wars “stole” Gizmo design for Baby Yoda

Before Baby Yoda made his way into our hearts, another fictional creature had the cutesy corner of pop culture covered: Gizmo the Mogwai. Fuzzy and sweet-natured, the aliens both communicate with coos and gurgles and have super long ears. In short, the littluns share some obvious similarities. 

So much so, in fact, that Gremlins director Joe Dante has now claimed Star Wars pinched Gizmo’s design for The Mandalorian’s Grogu – despite the fact that the latter is based on Yoda, whose big screen debut predates Gizmo’s. 

The filmmaker was recently asked about Gremlins’ near 40-year legacy by San Francisco Chronicle (opens in new tab), to which he replied: “I think the longevity of [the films] is really key to this one character [Gizmo], who is essentially like a baby. Which brings me, of course, to the subject of Baby Yoda, who is completely stolen and is just out-and-out copied. Shamelessly, I would think.”

Gizmo in Gremlins

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In the past, The Mandalorian’s showrunner Jon Favreau has cited E.T. and Paper Moon as influences of the show, but fans have definitely noticed the resemblance between Gizmo and Grogu. Last year, Zach Galligan, who plays Billy Peltzer, the teen who stumbles across the mogwais in Gremlins, told Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab) that “[his] buddy is cuter.” His reasoning? Gizmo is furry, while green Jedi-in-training Grogu is mostly hairless.

Baby Yoda is set to return in The Mandalorian season 3 when it releases on Disney Plus. Gizmo will make a grand return to the screen this year, too, only in animated form as part of the HBO Max series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. While we wait for both outings, check out our list of the best new TV shows coming our way in 2022 and beyond.

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