The breakout star of The Mandalorian has not been Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin. Instead, it's the loveable little green baby named the Child, aka Baby Yoda. It's amazing that Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni were able to keep the little guy a secret for so long, especially since he had been talked about for years before he ended up on the hit Disney+ series. However, thanks to Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, we know that he wasn't always going to be so cute. He almost ended up a horrifying little mess.
In the latest episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau notes that everyone involved "had a vision for what a bad version of [Baby Yoda] was," when they were putting ideas together. Making a baby version of an iconic Star Wars character was never going to be an easy task. As it turns out, Favreau already had some ideas that he had been working on, though he didn't realize it was going to be for Star Wars at the time. He had this to say.
"The look of the big ears, we had inherited that from Yoda, and I had already been preoccupied with the look of big eyes and using ears for motion because I had been working on a VR project called Gnomes and Goblins for many years."
Jon Favreau was pretty sure he knew what the Child needed right away when they started developing The Mandalorian. He wanted something that did not have a whole lot going on in the facial department, so "everything was about the eyes looking at you and the ears moving." They ended up with some big eyes and huge ears, just like what Favreau wanted, but it was still a rocky start. "Some of them were too cute, some of them were too ugly, some of them were the wrong proportions," says the showrunner.
As soon as the basics were down, Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau started getting to work on the derails. Finally, they had a breakthrough. "It was one image that Chris Alzmann did that had him wrapped up in what looked like a piece of a flight jacket or something, we didn't know," says Favreau when talking about the winning design. "His eyes were a little weird and he looked a little out of it. We found it charming and that became the rallying image that we said, 'this is good'."
After that, The Mandalorian crew had to keep Baby Yoda a secret, which would have been a lot easier to do had he been super ugly and terrifying. Werner Herzog has also praised the Child and the crew who did "phenomenal" work to bring him to life through the old school practical effects. "There's no boundaries and what you can do here with new technologies is simply extraordinary, very much to my liking," said Herzog, who has not been shy about his love of Baby Yoda. You can check out the early Baby Yoda designs below, thanks to the SoundWave Twitter account.