Joe Dante, the horror and humor auteur perhaps best known for directing 1984’s Gremlins, says that “baby Yoda” — that’s Grogu to his friends — is “completely stolen” from his own baby Gremlin, Gizmo.
Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, Dante reflected on the enduring popularity of Gremlins and 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch. “I think the longevity of (the films) is really key to this one character (Gizmo), who is essentially like a baby,” he said. “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.”
The interview notes his “wry smile,” so perhaps he didn’t quite mean it — or perhaps, as in his films, he enjoys a nice laugh as he twists the knife.
Dante is currently executive producing the animated series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai for HBO Max. It stars Ming-Na Wen (Mulan, The Book of Boba Fett), BD Wong (Jurassic World Dominion), and James Hong (Everything Everywhere All at Once), and is expected to premiere this fall. Last year, he participated in a Consequence oral history of his 1981 cult classic, The Howling.