Gremlins director Joe Dante says that Star Wars’ Grogu design ripped off Gizmo.
In an era in which the Star Wars fandom is consistently divided, one particular character introduced in The Mandalorian has become as beloved and iconic as any figure in the franchise’s 45-year history. Grogu has been a fan-favorite since his debut in 2019, and in some ways, has singlehandedly propelled the series into popularity on Disney Plus. However, some have criticized the character’s presence for being a shameless ploy to sell merchandise, and now Gremlins director Joe Dante is making the claim that the character is a ripoff of Gizmo.
Joe Dante’s Gremlins was one of the biggest hits of 1984, and the breakout character Gizmo became an icon of that decade. With his big eyes and floppy ears, the character helped sell plenty of merchandise. The design is so iconic that some felt that Grogu was a ripoff of this design, and Dante addressed his sentiment to Datebook of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“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.”
Grogu looks similar, but a Gremlins ripoff?
It’s understandable why Joe Dante would feel that Grogu’s design is a ripoff of Gremlins’ Gizmo. Both are miniature, cute characters with big eyes and ears. However, the creatives at Star Wars can make the case that the character design is in line with how a member of Yoda’s species would look at its infant state.
Grogu is widely-considered to be the breakout star of The Mandalorian. Here is the synopsis for the Star Wars series:
After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travels of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic….
The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal, Giancarlo Esposito, Temuera Morrison, Katee Sackhoff, Ming-Na Wen, Bill Burr, Timothy Olyphant, and Carl Weathers, with Rosario Dawson joining the series as Ahsoka Tano ahead of her spin-off series. The project was created by Jon Favreau and executive produced by Dave Filoni, with episodes directed by Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, Peyton Reed, Carl Weathers, and Robert Rodriguez.
The Mandalorian’s first two seasons are available to stream on Disney Plus. Stay tuned for all the latest news surrounding the upcoming season and the future of Grogu in Star Wars, and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.