If there is one character from the Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni hit Disney+ series The Mandalorian that had audience members melting, it’s Grogu (AKA Baby Yoda, AKA The Child). The adorable 50-year-old green Jedi doesn’t say much aside from a few cute sounds in both seasons of the show, but can always be seen eating, from frog eggs to blue macarons — and it’s adorable! That being said, the cute creature did not always look so cute.
Considering Lucasfilm and Disney were creating Grogu from scratch, as one can imagine, the creation process is quite timely. There were many versions of Grogu that the team underwent before achieving the adorable version we know and love today. The fifth episode of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian — which goes behind the scenes of Disney+’s breakout Star Wars series — revealed several early drawings of the fan-favorite character. And personally, I am glad that they were scrapped!
The Mandalorian showrunner Jon Favreau noted, “We got lots and lots of drawings. Some of them were too cute, some of them were too ugly, some of them were the wrong proportions.” If I were to judge where the above rendering fits in that equation, I would say the latter half of Favreau’s statement rings true. Although Grogu is 50 years old, this version looks a lot older than that.
This version looks a little elf-like, but it seems to be moving towards the cuter depiction of Grogu that we know and love. Here we can see The Mandalorian team plating around with Grogu’s ear placement, or perhaps, the range in which his ears could move. Interestingly enough, I personally get Dobby vibes from Harry Potter, but maybe that’s just me.
This version of Grogu looks a lot more like Yoda, however, in comparison to what Grogu actually looks like, this rendering does tend to feel a little older. For Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) to always call Grogu “kid”, having a teenager looking Grogu would have made the father-son relationship that evolves a little more difficult to emote with, as an audience member.
Finally, we were able to get the adorable big-eyed Grogu that had audience members forgiving him, even when he eats the Frog Lady’s final eggs that would prevent her species from extinction. Favreau concluded, “Finally there was one image that Chris Alzmann did that had him wrapped up in what looked like a piece of a flight jacket. His eyes were a little weird, and he looked a little out of it, there was something a little off with it. But we found it charming, and that became the rallying image that we said, ‘This is good.’ And it developed from there.”
What is going on with Grogu now?
With The Mandalorian Season 2 has wrapped, and Season 3 on the way, many Star Wars fans might be wondering when we will see our favorite green fellow next.
Although we may not know when the third season will air, the show’s storyline currently has many loose ends that must be tied together. Recently we reported that in the season finale of The Mandalorian Season 2, Episode 8 (Chapter 16: The Rescue), we see Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), and her Nite Owl warrior Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado) defeat Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), rescuing Grogu from the Imperial ship.
Din completes his mission of returning the foundling to his rightful place with the Jedi, and all is right when Luke Skywalker (CGI Mark Hamill) enters the ship to collect Grogu for his Jedi training.
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Din even removes his beskar helmet for the first time in front of an audience as large as this to allow Grogu to finally see him, and remember his face. The two have a tear-jerking father-son moment where Grogu touches Din’s face and then departs with Skywalker. Many fans (such as myself) likely ended the episode thinking, ‘is this the end of Grogu?’
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Pedro Pascal recently confirmed that The Mandalorian will jump timelines, which could be a way that Grogu is reunited with Din after his Jedi training is complete. That being said, that is purely speculation at this point.
What do you think of the earlier renderings of Grogu? Do you think Disney and Lucasfilm will bring the character back in Season 3?