Since Disney Plus launched, the only thing I’ve wanted to talk about online is the big reveal at the end of the first episode of The Mandalorian. But here, in the opening paragraph of a story about spoiler culture, I don’t want to say what fans have been calling the creature — even though we can be reasonably sure that name isn’t accurate — because I don’t want to ruin the reveal for anyone who has yet to see it.
No one wants to be the jerk spoiling something for others, unless they’re going out of their way to troll fans. But on the other hand, this reveal puts everyone trying to be polite in a weird spot. When is it okay for us to talk about it openly? Who gets to decide? Up until this point, I’ve been too nervous to tweet anything. The character has been discussed all over social media, but a fan tweeting an image and a reaction is very different from an entertainment writer with a wider reach, who many will argue should know better. So I’m holding my tongue.
Disney recently made its rules for “proper” spoiler usage explicit. The company didn’t want anyone talking about the events in Avengers: Endgame, so everyone could enjoy the film without knowing what was going to happen. But that broke down once trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home began addressing important Endgame plot details. Disney had an openly announced embargo for spoilers, asking fans not to post any before that date. After the ban lifted, it was fair game. If you wanted to be surprised, Disney implied, you needed to take responsibility for seeing the movie before that date.
But this is different. Disney’s dated Endgame spoiler ban was about setting up a point where it could promote its Next Thing without hurting reception for its Recent Thing. But with The Mandalorian, it’s in Disney’s best interests to keep this reveal a secret as long as possible, so viewers don’t feel they’ve already gotten the show’s big secrets, and they don’t need to subscribe to Disney Plus.
But even that dynamic creates a quandary. Disney would also love to latch onto and capitalize social media’s current love affair with the character I’m trying hard not to talk about yet. It’s a spoiler for The Mandalorian, but it’s also a big selling point for the show. So once again, Disney has provided an official answer to the spoiler question. The company put the character into an official tweet for the first time today, complete with full-on images. So it’s clear we’re allowed to talk about it at this point, with the company’s blessing.
After this spoiler warning.
Spoilers from here on in, my friends
The first episode of The Mandalorian aired on Nov. 12. The second episode aired on Nov. 15. The rest will be released, one per week, every subsequent Friday. It should be fair game to talk about the fact that the target the show’s protagonist was hired to bring in, dead or alive (but with a higher bounty for a live target), is in fact an infant version of effin’ Yoda.
Now, the timeline means that the character we’re seeing isn’t actually Yoda. But my counter-argument is: look at this baby Yoda!
i hope baby yoda had a good day and he was warm in his big coat and he got all the cuddles and naps. pic.twitter.com/KbVPU7TWBJ— rachel leishman (@RachelLeishman) November 18, 2019
Reader, I screamed. The first episode of a show I thought was going just fine, thank you, changed the entire game by bringing in a baby Yoda, and it’s the best character the Star Wars franchise has ever included in anything. I won’t hear a single argument otherwise.
I understand the desire to keep that moment safe for everyone else as well, because I’m thankful I went in without knowing what was about to happen. The fact that the second episode spent much more time with my new best friend, baby Yoda, confirms that I’ll never miss an episode on its release day. And baby Yoda falls over when his little stroller gets pushed too hard! Using the Force tuckers him out and he has to take a nap! It’s too damned much!
But the character reveal was last week, which is about 16 internet years ago, and everyone is still growling about keeping baby Yoda a secret. How many episodes need to air, and how long do we need to wait, before baby Yoda is just assumed knowledge? It can’t be much longer, right?
Unfortunately, there probably won’t be a safe time to tweet about baby Yoda without being yelled at for many months. Disney Plus isn’t launching in Australia, New Zealand, or Puerto Rico until Nov. 19, 2019. It won’t launch in France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, or Ireland until March 2020. That’s a lot of people who probably don’t want to be spoiled about baby Yoda, if they haven’t been already.
So honestly, I still have no idea how long I need to wait to openly discuss baby Yoda everywhere. I know I won’t make it until next March. The fact that Disney was able to keep baby Yoda under wraps for this long was already a miracle. Asking the rest of the world to do the same thing now that the service has launched in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands seems impossible. If the official Star Wars Twitter account thinks baby Yoda reveals are fair game now, all bets are off, right?
And also, although I hate leaving the most important thought in a post for last, look at his liddle robe. Just look at it.
God, I’ve been waiting to type those words so long.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.