Bob Iger, the Walt Disney Company boss, says of course The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda has a real name, and it’s not Baby Yoda, nor The Child. And, of course, he’s not telling.
“I know its real name, and it’s one of the reasons I have extra security now, because I don’t want to be given some kind of truth serum by someone,” Iger said in an interview with StarWars.com’s The Star Wars Show.
I mean, shouldn’t he? I’d figure Baby Yoda’s real name — hell, the name of the Yoda species remains a mystery — would be nuclear-football level stuff that the boss man should carry around. If I was Bob Iger, I’d ask for a briefing on Baby Yoda, in other words.
For now, Iger calls Baby Yoda Baby Yoda like the rest of us. He’s gotten #wellactually’d by director Jon Favreau for it, too. “I got chastised,” Iger told Anthony Carboni. “In my early emails to Jon Favreau, I referenced in my emails, ‘Baby Yoda,’ it just seemed easy. And I got my wrist slapped a few times by Jon: ‘It’s not Baby Yoda!’ ‘OK, OK.’”
“I’ll make one announcement,” Iger joked. “The baby’s name is not George.”
Iger appeared with Baby Yoda in a painting Time magazine commissioned for its issue naming Iger businessperson of the year. Iger said Time at first asked for a photo, he and Disney’s PR declined, so the mag cooked up that. “I thought about, our Christmas card this year, including that painting and saying we had a sixth grandchild, ‘the asset.’” he joked.
Drawing on his 45 years of experience producing television, Iger said he could tell Baby Yoda would be a hit with fans. “I remember times throughout my career in television, when I saw either a character, or an actor playing a character when you just knew,” Iger said. “And I realized in this particular case, The Child, or ‘the asset,’ — which we don’t refer to The Child, or ‘the asset’ the way the world is referring to The Child or ‘the asset,’ that’s Baby Yoda, that’s a no-no.”
Anyway, “[Baby Yoda] doesn’t have to say anything, it just emotes, just looks,” Iger said. He acknowledged that shelves are bereft of Baby Yoda merchandise for this holiday season because to let licensors in on the plans would risk outing the character before its surprise reveal in the first episode of The Mandalorian, which premiered Nov. 12 on Disney Plus.
“I know a lot’s been said about the Christmas season, and everybody wants to buy The Child toys, etc., and they’re not really out there,” Iger said. “And that’s because, if we had given the design out, it would have gone out to hundreds and hundreds of people probably all over the world, and we didn’t want to do that. So people will have to wait, which I think actually is a good thing in this case.”