Even if you don’t watch the Star Wars Disney+ shows, you’re undoubtedly familiar with The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda: one of the most effective merchandising tools of the past decade. But with the reveal of what is arguably the greatest Baby Yoda collectible to date at Comic-Con, I’m hoping we can finally move on and finally let Grogu get some rest.
When Grogu was first revealed at the end of the first episode of The Mandalorian, it turned a Star Wars series with a unique take on the saga (and one that was refreshingly free of Jedi—for a while) into something new for Star Wars fans to obsess over. Then known simply as “The Child,” he was not only adorable, but seemed like it would finally help shed some light on Yoda’s mysterious origins, assuming the Jedi Master and Grogu both came from the same planet (maybe they’re from different colonies, who knows?). Two seasons later, Grogu’s and Yoda’s backstories are still shrouded in mystery, while the world is over-saturated in Baby Yoda merchandise. Like Anakin Skywalker bringing balance to the Force, we need a Grogu collectible to end all Grogu collectibles, and this (hopefully) might be it.
Norman Chan from Adam Savage’s Tested got a chance to chat with EFX Collectibles, who’ve created a next-level animatronic version of Baby Yoda at Comic-Con that looks almost as realistic and lifelike as the puppet used for filming The Mandalorian. There are two reasons it looks so convincing. For starters, EFX actually teamed up with Legacy Effects, the visual effects company who created the screen-used Grogu puppet, to make this collectible. Legacy Effects shared everything from patterns for Baby Yoda’s head, ears, hands, and clothing, to fabric samples, to even how to paint the eyes to make them appear more lifelike. It means this will be one of the most authentic Grogu replicas available, but it doesn’t just look realistic.
EFX also partnered with a company called Garner Holt Productions, who we’ve featured before for its impressive animatronic creations used in theme parks and casinos around the world. If you’ve seen videos of an eerily realistic Abraham Lincoln robot, you’ve seen Garner Holt’s work in action. The company used its expertise in building animatronics to not only bring life and movement to this Grogu replica, but longevity too. The Baby Yoda prop used to film The Mandalorian has a giant off-screen team of technicians to keep the puppet running and looking perfect, where as this collectible needed to be far more durable, and fun for years without showing any performance issues or physical deterioration.
The basic version of EFX’s Baby Yoda comes in a hover pram that’s used to hide 15 servo motors and other electronics that bring life to its ears, eyes, head, and arms. But since this collectible is a bespoke product that’s built to order every time, discerning collectors can opt for versions with even more servos inside, facilitating mouth movements and even a fun trick where the Child passes a shifter knob back and forth between its hands.
But like a custom built sports car, EFX Collectibles left out one important thing: how much this Baby Yoda is going to cost. If you have to ask, you’re probably not going to be able to afford to add it to your collection.
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