Ev­ery­thing you need to know about Baby Yoda

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - BOOKS - By Bethonie But­ler

In the first chap­ter of “The Man­dalo­rian,” the bounty hunter at the cen­ter of the story is tasked with ap­pre­hend­ing an im­por­tant target with lit­tle in­for­ma­tion other than its age — 50 — and last known lo­ca­tion. The fi­nal mo­ments of the episode re­veal the as­set, who turns out to be … su­per cute.

The in­ter­net has dubbed the adorable crea­ture Baby Yoda be­cause he or she bears a strong re­sem­blance to the iconic Jedi master. As an ill-fated droid in­forms the Man­dalo­rian that “species age dif­fer­ently,” and Baby Yoda is a young 50. Here’s ev­ery­thing you need to know about the mys­te­ri­ous new char­ac­ter, known in the Dis­ney Plus se­ries as “the Child.”

■ Baby Yoda is (prob­a­bly) not ac­tu­ally Yoda

“The Man­dalo­rian” takes place af­ter the fall of the Em­pire but be­fore the rise of Kylo Ren and the First Or­der in “The Force Awak­ens.” As such, the time­line just doesn’t sup­port the no­tion that our col­lec­tive bun­dle of joy is the ac­tual Yoda, who dies — at 900 years old — in “The Re­turn of the Jedi.”

While fans have been re­fer­ring to Baby Yoda as an in­fant, we must dis­agree. His be­hav­ior in Chap­ter 2 of the se­ries — re­peat­edly climb­ing out of its crib — leads us to be­lieve the crea­ture is a tod­dler. Man­dalo­rian, may the Force be with you. Tod­dlers are tough.

There are a few the­o­ries about the cu­ri­ous crea­ture who seems to be a mem­ber of Yoda’s rare and mys­te­ri­ous species. We’ll get into those be­low.

■ The Force is strong with this one

Baby not-Yoda hasn’t quite mas­tered his (or her) skills yet, but we know that the Child is Force-sen­si­tive. In Chap­ter 2, the Man­dalo­rian bat­tles a rhi­noc­eros-es­que beast who threat­ens to de­feat him. Baby Yoda, watch­ing ner­vously from his float­ing bassinet, raises his tiny hand and the beast is stopped in its tracks. Baby Yoda even­tu­ally passes out, which re­minds us of some­thing Yoda said in “Re­turn of the Jedi”: “Strong in the force am I … but not that strong.” Keep try­ing, bb.

■ Baby Yoda is very cute

We know we said that al­ready, but we can’t over­state the cute­ness. (We may have a pic­ture of Baby Yoda in our wal­let.) Film­maker Werner Her­zog, who plays the enig­matic, un­named client who com­mis­sioned (ap­par­ently mul­ti­ple) boun­ties on the crea­ture, said he was moved to tears af­ter see­ing the crea­ture on set. “It’s heart­break­ingly beau­ti­ful,” he told GQ.

So­cial me­dia is filled with peo­ple pro­fess­ing their love (and will­ing­ness to take a bul­let or sev­eral) for Baby Yoda.

■ The­ory No. 1: Baby Yoda is a clone

Cloning tech­nol­ogy ex­ists in the “Star Wars” uni­verse. There’s the clone army, of course, com­mis­sioned by a Jedi master more than a decade be­fore the Clone Wars. And we know that Em­peror Pal­pa­tine cloned him­self sev­eral times over.

That said, it’s no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult (but not im­pos­si­ble) to clone Force­sen­si­tive be­ings. So, con­vinced we are not.

■ The­ory No. 2: The Child is Yoda’s baby

This the­ory re­lates to Yad­dle, a Force-sen­si­tive be­ing who is of the same de­lib­er­ately un­named species as Yoda. The char­ac­ter, seen in “The Phan­tom Men­ace” and sev­eral pre­quel films, could have, in the­ory, had a baby with Yoda. But this seems un­likely since Yoda is no­tably not a fan of ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships — at least those in­volv­ing Jedi. Re­mem­ber his ad­vice to Anakin in “Re­venge of the Sith”? “Train your­self to let go of ev­ery­thing you fear to lose.”

Full dis­clo­sure: We’re not let­ting go of Baby Yoda.

■ The­ory No. 3: The Child is just a be­ing who is of Yoda’s species

Ge­orge Lucas has been fa­mously cryptic about Yoda’s species and we have seen only a few sim­i­lar be­ings over the course of the fran­chise. But the most sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion for Baby Yoda is that the tot sim­ply shares the Jedi Master’s species and his abil­i­ties in the force.

DIS­NEY PLUS

Baby Yoda is known as “the Child” in “The Man­dalo­rian.”

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