A still from 'Gremlins' Image Credit: IMDb

The director of the cult-classic ‘Gremlins’ hit out at Disney, alleging that the entertainment giant “shamelessly” ripped off the inspiration for Baby Yoda.

Director Joe Dante told the San Francisco Chronicle the reason his Gremlin films remain so popular nearly 40 years after their release is down to the appeal of pint-sized Mogwai Gizmo.

“I think the longevity of [the films] is really key to this one character [Gizmo], who is essentially like a baby,” said Dante. “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.”

Baby Yoda-1658064342178
Baby Yoda in 'The Mandalorian' Image Credit: Disney+

Baby Yoda-or Grogu-is a character at the centre of Jon Favreau’s ‘Mandalorian’ series, which has been a critical success for Disney+, garnering positive reviews and Emmy wins. It’s the first of the live-action Star Wars series, and the show stars Pedro Pascal as a bounty-hunter who goes on the run to protect Grogu.

Grogu is also popular toy, topping the charts at Amazon, and leading a Bloomberg Opinion column to argue that Netflix needs a Baby Yoda of its own.

Show creator Favreau told Deadline that his inspiration for the character came from another classic 1980’s film: Stephen Spielberg’s ‘E.T.’

Dante isn’t the only person involved in ‘Gremlins’ to notice the similarities betwen Baby Yoda and Gizmo. Actor Zach Galligan, who stars as Billy Peltzer in the films, told Entertainment Weekly in 2021 that he was bombarded by memes that compared the two characters when the show came out.

Of course, the original Yoda pre-dated ‘Gremlins,’ which came out in 1984. The character was first seen in 1980’s film ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ the second film in the original Star Wars trilogy. ‘The Mandalorian’ will return to Disney+ in February 2023, and fans of Gizmo can catch more in HBO Max’s animated series ‘Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai.’