I’m not a betting woman but if you asked me to make one right now, I’d be willing to bet that if you’re watching the new Disney+ series The Mandalorian you’re in love with Baby Yoda. There is still a lot of mystery around Baby Yoda, including what its alien species is and whether or not it’s directly related to Jedi Master Yoda. Not even Baby Yoda’s incredibly high level of cuteness can distract from these pressing questions, so let’s get down to business and see if we can figure out what the origins of the Outer Rim’s youngest-looking boomer really are.
Courtesy of the power of exposition, the first two episodes of The Mandalorian have revealed only a few things about Baby Yoda. Technically, Baby Yoda is referred to as “The Child” on the show and within the Star Wars canon. For the purposes of our investigation (as well as remaining in the zeitgeist), this lil cutie is still going to be called Baby Yoda. The Mandalorian has also revealed to us that Baby Yoda is 50 years old, is sensitive to the Force, is carnivorous, and, much like Yoda, likely has visions activated in its sub-brain. Additionally, Baby Yoda somehow ended up on the planet Arvala-7 where it is recovered by the Mandalorian and is being sought out by the shady Doctor Pershing (Omid Abtahi), who is working with The Client (Werner Herzog), for some equally shady reason. Finally, we know Baby Yoda is somehow connected to the actual Yoda, who died five years before the events of The Mandalorian in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Because Baby Yoda is definitely of the same species as Yoda, then it makes sense Baby Yoda is still very much an infant despite being 50 years old (Yoda died when he was 900 years old, FYI).
While The Mandalorian is most likely going to answer any questions about how Baby Yoda ended up on Arvala-7 or why it’s such a hot commodity to Pershing, the questions around this alien’s origins and species are still in need of answering. First up: What species is Baby Yoda and, by extension, Yoda? Star Wars creator George Lucas once revealed in a 2005 Moviefone interview that Yoda was created when it became clear Alec Guinness‘ great performance as the original Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was too good and keeping him on as a mentor to Luke Skywalker but not really doing much else didn’t feel right. Thus, Yoda was created but, per Lucas, there were some hiccups:
“The truth about Yoda is that in the original movie, Obi-Wan went to the very end of the film and Yoda didn’t exist. As I got through starting to shoot the movie, I realized that when I came to the end battle that Obi-Wan had nothing to do but sit around and watch the battle like Princess Leia and in the next film he basically sat around and taught Luke how to use the Force and things. […] So I needed something and I created Yoda, who’s two feet tall, large with green ears. But to be very honest with you, I never figured out where he came from, what his species is called (it doesn’t even have a name), and maybe it’s somewhere but I don’t know where it is. So he’s a mystery character, he’s a magical character, he has no background, and then he goes. He’s the subversive, secret, mysterious stranger that enters the film and exits at the end.”
So, Lucas never really had a big master breakdown on what Yoda’s deal was all the way back in the ’80s. To this day, even fans and Star Wars diehards are still trying to figure out everything there is to know about Yoda’s species, including what it’s named. What we do know is that Yoda’s species is so rare that before Baby Yoda ever entered the picture, the only character of the same species as Yoda was Yaddle, a female Jedi Master who was a part of the Jedi High Council and seen in the Skywalker saga prequel trilogy. Because of Yaddle’s existence and Yoda dying at the ripe old age of 900 — plus the fact that Yoda and Yaddle were both Jedi Masters — we know that their species has (at least) two sexes, are very Force-sensitive, and age much, much slower than other species in the galaxy. Both the age and Force-sensitivity business is already evident with Baby Yoda and we’ve even seen it use the Force in Episode 2 of The Mandalorian, which means its abilities will only continue to grow.
All of this brings us to one final, important question: Is Baby Yoda directly related to Yoda or Yaddle? Since they’re the same species, it’s a “no duh” that they’re generally related. But if Yoda and Yaddle were among the last of their kind (and considering we only ever saw these two with no mentions of more like them, it’s possible), then Baby Yoda could very well be the child of Yoda and/or Yaddle. With The Mandalorian occurring five years after the death of Yoda but Baby Yoda clocking in at 50 years old, it’s possible Yoda was a secret dad all this time (#HighFivesForYoda). For that answer, we’ll just have to keep watching The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian is available to stream on Disney+ with new episodes arriving (for the most part!) every Friday. Get caught up on this season with our breakdown of The Mandalorian Episode 2, “The Child.”