Baby Yoda fans, the Force is finally with you.
Those toys you’ve been craving since The Mandalorian’s premiere last month are at last available for preorder today. With that news comes confirmation that the official name of the show’s breakout star is “the Child,” but don’t eat a frog over that. Just relish knowing that in a few months you can have an adorable little plush toy, bobblehead, or Funko Pop! doll to call your own.
Now available on ShopDisney.com are Mattel’s 11-inch Baby Yoda plush toy, which is expected to ship by April 1, and Funko Pop!’s vinyl bobblehead figure, which is available in two models: a 3.75-inch version expected to ship on May 13 and a 10-inch supersized version expected to ship in June. A Buffalo Games puzzle will be available to ship on Amazon in late December. Products from Hasbro will start hitting shelves later next year, offering a range of items from the Black Series and Vintage Collections.
Director Jon Favreau has explained that he asked Disney for the merchandising delay to protect the surprise of the lovable 50-year-old toddler’s appearance in the premiere episode of The Mandalorian. According to toy-industry experts, it can take anywhere from 2 months to 18 months to manufacture most toys. In a press release today, Paul Southern, senior vice-president of licensing and franchise for Lucasfilm, echoed Favreau’s wishes to safeguard the Baby Yoda bombshell. “It was important to us that the reveal of the new character, the Child, be a special moment for fans, and we could not be more thrilled with the response,” he said.
Even though Santa won’t be delivering any Baby Yodas this year, toy-industry experts don’t think the delay is a major issue. “Stars Wars fans, both young and old, get really excited about these products,” said Adrienne Appell of the Toy Association, a nonprofit trade organization. “The pre-buzz has been there, the interest is definitely going to be there.”
Jim Silver, CEO of the toy-review site Toys, Tots, Pets & More, predicts the demand will still be high next year because the show’s demographic is not young children. “Most young kids don’t even know who Yoda is,” he said. This is more for the collectors. And it’s more than just keeping the secret. They have to create the right product and that takes time.”
Those worried about Baby Yoda missing out on holiday shopping sprees should remember that many people receive gift cards for presents, said Richard Gottlieb, founder of Global Toy Experts. They also shouldn’t underestimate the character’s celebrity status. “I think there will be a lot of demand for this product in the first quarter of next year,” he said. “There will be a pent-up demand and it will give a pretty exciting boost to toy companies or retailers early next year. This was probably a great way to get people really interested in Disney+ and the reveal of Baby Yoda was a really nice surprise. He’s very cute. It’s kind of like Star Wars meets Elmo.”