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Walmart promptly removes, then returns bizarre Baby Yoda plush from website

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This is not the toy you’re looking for

The late, great retailer Marshall Field is known to have said that his empire of stores existed simply to “give the lady what she wants.” Today what “she” wants is a plush Baby Yoda of our own to love and protect forever. What we got instead is a dead-eyed tennis ball with big ears, which was briefly up for sale this morning on the Walmart website.

The 11-inch doll, made by Mattel, per the original sales label, sold for $24.99 and was listed with a shipping date of July 1. Baby Yoda was positioned in the classic “T-pose,” common to cursory digital renders and most first-person shooters just before the server crashes. No materials were listed other than the beans for ballast in its bum. A notice on the page also indicated that Walmart wasn’t really sure what the final product would look like, and was relying on its manufacturer partner to finalize that before delivery. The big-eared infant was ensconced in a facsimile of a floating bassinet from The Mandalorian, although with an ominous carry handle clearly shaped like the symbol of the Empire.

Frankly, I’ve seen more adorable Kowakian monkey lizards.

The absence of any official Baby Yoda toys to date was a deliberate attempt by showrunner Jon Favreau and the team behind the hit Disney Plus series to avoid leaks. That’s left the Mattel, other toy companies, and their retail partners in the uncomfortable position of not having the franchise’s hottest character available on store shelves this holiday. There are a smattering of officially licensed apparel items on the Shop Disney website. Meanwhile, numerous Etsy stores have popped up with handmade items, but many are crumbling under the load.

This entry on the Walmart website was clearly an attempt to fulfill the pent-up demand. We’ve reached out to the retailer to find out why exactly this item was pulled down from the website.

Update: The mysterious Baby Yoda plush is back on shelves, with Walmart jumping the gun on an embargo. At 3 p.m., the plush, “The Child”-branded T-shirts, and a fleet of Funko figures hit various online stores. All the merchandise is expected to ship in April 2020.

“A little too early did our pre-orders launch,” wrote a Walmart spokesperson via email. “Sorry we are. Opportunity to pre-order again soon on Walmart.com customers will have.”

This, it appears, is the way.