Gremlins director Joe Dante, the man behind the popular 1984 comedy horror and its 1990 sequel, claimed that The Mandalorian‘s Baby Yoda is a shameless rip-off of its Gremlin movie lead, Gizmo.
Although Dante has no plans to sue Disney or Lucasfilm, he told the San Francisco Chronicle that he believes that star wars spin-off series openly copied from his favorite cult movies.
“I think the longevity (of the movies) is really key with this character (Gizmo), who is basically like a baby,” Dante explained. “Which brings me, of course, to the subject of Baby Yoda, being completely stolen and just being over-copied. Shameless, I think.
Baby Yoda was featured in the first episode of Disney+ The Mandalorianwhich debuted on November 12, 2019. Its cuteness and playful characteristics made it an instant hit with viewers, leading to various toys and merchandise based on the character.
As for Dante, he recently served as a consultant for the upcoming HBO Max animated series, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwaiwhich, ironically, features the voice of mandalorian Ming-Na Wen star. The cast also includes BD Wong (Nora from Queens) and James Hong (Kung Fu Panda: Legs of Destiny). The first episode premiered at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France last month.
Set in 1920s Shanghai, eastern China, The secrets of Mogwai revolves around 10-year-old Sam Wing and how he met Gizmo, a young Mogwai. It was written and produced by Tze Chun, with Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Sam Register and Brendan Hay serving as executive producers. The series has already been renewed for a second season.
In the meantime, Dante will screen the first two Gremlins films in San Francisco on Saturday, July 16. “People of my generation who loved movies love them because they saw them with an audience,” the filmmaker said. “I’ve seen these images over the years many times around the world, and they always play well in a packed theater.”
Gremlins: Secrets of the MogwaiSeason 1, TBD, HBO Max
The MandalorianSeason 3, TBA, Disney+