The Mandalorian was able to do the unthinkable. Jon Favreau and crew were able to keep Baby Yoda a secret from just about everybody. Viewers were stunned to see the adorable little creature appear at the end of episode one. However the surprise tactic wasn't always the plan. It was something that came up in a discussion between Donald Glover and Favreau while they were making The Lion King, which is when the director was coming up with the idea for the show. Beyoncé and Glover are partly to thank for keeping Baby Yoda a secret.
Jon Favreau knew that Disney was in desperate need of original content when they announced their streaming service. It's at this time that he contacted Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to pitch The Mandalorian. He would work on the show while taking breaks from working on The Lion King and talked to Donald Glover about his idea and the element of surprise, which is getting harder and harder to pull off these days. But, they both agreed that Beyoncé was still able to do it, which got Favreau thinking. He explains.
"We were talking about music and pop culture and he was saying that what people really like now is to be surprised, because it doesn't happen that much. When Beyoncé did an album, she would just put it online and everybody would react to it. Just putting it out there spurred a conversation that would become more viral and bring more genuine attention than any marketing."
The discussion with Donald Glover about Baby Yoda proved to be a great idea. Jon Favreau had to convince Disney to hold off on merchandising in order to keep everything under wraps, which is why there are no official Baby Yoda, aka The Child, toys out in the wild now. Disney and Favreau gambled and it paid off in a major way. The toys don't arrive until May and a lot of the pre-orders are already sold out.
As for the idea of Baby Yoda coming into The Mandalorian, it's something that Jon Favreau has thought about for a long time. We're still in the dark about the little creature's origins and how he fits into the show, along with the Star Wars franchise. With one episode left in season one, we're bound to learn a little bit more. Favreau had this to say about the initial idea.
"[Baby Yoda] is one of the things that I had been making notes about. I just was trying to figure out what happened after the original Star Wars trilogy, after the Empire falls. We knew Yoda, who was so old and was a master. What would it be like for a new character, another one of the species emerging and being in training, who was just beginning that journey?"
The Mandalorian has proven to be a hit on Disney+ and is already one of the biggest shows in the world. While J.J. Abrams is out dividing fans with The Rise of Skywalker, Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are uniting them. They were able to work under the radar in order to deliver the series and the surprise, but one has to wonder what season two is going to be like. The interview with Jon Favreau was originally conducted by The Hollywood Reporter.