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Who (or what) is 'Baby Yoda' in The Mandalorian? Our wildest theories so far

He's a Horcrux. Definitely a Horcrux

baby-yoda-burn.png
Lucasfilm / Illustration by CNET

The Mandalorian is up to episode 4 now and the world is still reeling from the absolute gut punch of cute that is "Baby Yoda."

Baby Yoda is adorable. Baby Yoda has cute concept art and now (sigh) a Funko Pop. Baby Yoda can use the Force.

But who is Baby Yoda? Where does he come from? Is he even a he? There are a lot of theories doing the rounds, so we thought we'd collate some of our own. We asked the CNET staff to beat around their own Baby Yoda theories. Be warned: They range from the reasonable (Yoda's secret child) to the, uh... less reasonable (Yoda is a Horcrux).

Baby Yoda is the lovechild of Yoda and Yaddle

This feels like the most obvious theory. Let's work through it.

Baby Yoda is 50 years old. 

Big Yoda died in Return of the Jedi. Right at the end.

The Mandalorian takes place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

The timeline is clear: Yoda is the illicit love child of Yoda and Yaddle, who was a member of the Jedi Council circa The Phantom Menace. This seems obvious to me. The timelines match up.

It's also peak Expanded Universe nonsense, so I'm sort of rooting for this theory to be true because it's terrible, in a good way. What would make more sense is for Baby Yoda to just be a character completely disconnected from anyone in Star Wars as we know it, to make the universe seem broader in scope.

But we all know that's not how these movies work, so Baby Yoda is Yoda's illicit love child confirmed.

- Mark Serrels, Editorial Director

penicillium-chrysogenum.jpg

Pictured: Baby Yoda.

Wikimedia Commons user Crulina 98

Baby Yoda is actually a fungus

Echoing this conversation from earlier in the day -- whatever species Yoda belongs to is 100% force sensitive, based on the evidence of the three we've seen in canon thus far. Since Jedi do not partner up, the Yoda species must therefore be the product of some kind of fission-based or budding process, as suggested by my colleague, Scott Stein, typical of asexual reproduction. Therefore, it is highly likely that the Yoda species is actually a sentient plant or fungus. 

- Rich Brown, Smart Home and Appliances Executive Editor

Or maybe not...

Budding could indeed be how the Yoda-things reproduce. Actually we have no idea at all what this species is about. So, all bets are off. Here are some possible theories.

  • Yoda and Yaddle are the parents. They hid baby Yoda because its force powers were so terrifying and, of course, Yoda and Yaddle broke the Jedi code with their lovemaking. Little Yoda could easily be far worse than Anakin, and was sent away to a desert world.
  • Baby Yoda is the reincarnated body of old Yoda.  Maybe this is like that movie Birth, where the person ends up reincarnated in the body of their child. 
  • Could this be a shapeshifter? The Star Wars universe has shapeshifters. No good bounty hunter would dismiss this possibility.
  • More realistically: the little Yoda-thing is the last of its kind, or a very rare creature. If Yodas (Yodi?) grow so old, and take so long to reach adulthood, maybe very few are around at any given time... like big, old trees. Maybe there are only three or four around, period. And each one needs special care.
  • Baby Yoda isn't unique at all. It's a clone. Maybe the others were destroyed, or are hard to find. 
  • Little Yoda is a criminal mastermind, and the real head of the crime syndicate that's hiring The Mandalorian in the first place. It's an elaborate con game.
  • Baby Yoda is made of Midichlorians that are just taking the shape of a Yoda.

- Scott Stein, Senior Editor


Yoda

Yoda's grammar isn't the only mysterious thing about him. No one knows the home world or species name of Yoda's kind. At the Jedi council, we see Yaddle, a female version of the species -- so we know Yoda isn't the only one left. They live for hundreds of years and are known for being Force-sensitive, which makes them great Jedi.

Lucasfilm

Baby Yoda is a merchandising ploy

You're all overthinking it. Baby Yoda (I tend to believe he's a Yoda, not the Yoda) was a mandate from Disney's corporate overlords. The company is going to sell a ton of baby Yoda dolls. 

- Roger Cheng, News Executive Editor

What Roger said. Baby Yoda is a diabolically slick merchandising move, right before the holidays. 

- Erin Carson, Staff Reporter

7-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-ii-69ef58df

Harry Potter must destroy Baby Yoda. 

Warner Bros.

Baby Yoda is a Horcrux

I refuse to believe that Yoda procreated. The thought is too upsetting and makes my brain melt a bit. But clearly, Baby Yoda is of great importance to not only the Star Wars universe but also ours. 

  • Baby Yoda is a Horcrux. I will not be taking any questions on this.
  • Baby Yoda is a secret member of the British Royal Family. Hiding him out at Sandringham was clearly still too risky, so they sent him to outer space. Catch him on the next season of The Crown.
  • Yoda actually has Benjamin Button disease and was too ashamed to admit it, so he faked his own death so he could live out his baby days in obscurity. Except he got too damn cute and now we love him. 
  • OK, so Baby Yoda may be Yoda's child, but he is Rey and Kylo's adopted son. I'm sure the fan art of this exists somewhere. If it doesn't, make it and email it to me. 
  • Baby Yoda is the saving grace of the Star Wars franchise, and honestly? I welcome it. I crave good Star Wars discourse and as long as we're all gooey eyed over the sweet baby, we have less time to be angry about The Rise of Skywalker. Which I think will be good. Don't contact me. 

- Nicole Archer, Social Media Producer

Yoda and Yaddle probably 'doinked'

Today I learned three things. 

1. Baby Yoda is probably not the Yoda I've come to know and love… because the world is now nothing but an expanded universe of story arcs and fan theory. 

2. There was a female Yoda named Yaddle. That Google image search is a sunken place of sexy puppets and facial prosthetics. 

3. Yoda and Yaddle probably doinked. All the sweet perfumes of Arabia will not cleanse that thought from my mind. 

Baby Yoda might look like an adorable Jedi Master, like someone took Yoda and put him in the oven like a Shrinky Dink. But really, he's just a Muppet-sized bundle of fan service. A highly marketable character that's gone through the requisite big-eyed Disneyfication we expect in the post-Lucas era. But don't let his dilated pupils and peach fuzz head confuse you. He's a force-levitating cash grab here to pull on your heartstrings and lure you deeper into the Star Wars universe. He's a merch play. Like Baby Groot. Or the Porgs. Also, he's definitely the result of some deeply messed-up puppet sex. 

- Claire Reilly, Senior Editor

This whole thing is simple

If you've been paying attention, this whole thing is pretty simple.

We don't know what Yoda was, but we do know that there are at least two existing Yoda Things:  Yoda and Yaddle. Now in The Mandalorian, in between The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, a third Yoda Thing is introduced. You will of course recall that Yaddle left the Jedi Council before the Clone Wars for mysterious reasons. Raising a child for 50 years much?

Disclaimer: I have not seen any of The Mandalorian, didn't know what a Yaddle was until today and am completely unsure as to the timeline of the Clone Wars.

- Daniel Van Boom, News Editor

Baby Yoda is a blacksmith

Baby Yoda is a blacksmith genius and I have no doubt that by episode 8 we will see the tiny green unit wielding a hammer and helping The Mandalorian make a new chest plate. I'm serious. This show is a subtle love letter to the fine art of smithing. I cannot wait until Baby Yoda gets its own set of footlong Mandalorian armor.

-- Jackson Ryan, Science Editor

Baby Yoda is actually Emperor Palpatine

The baby is a vessel for Emperor Palpatine's essence -- he had Yoda cloned and transferred to that body after his death in Return of the Jedi. The Client is carrying out a plan to get him back to the Imperial Remnant so he can take charge again, and Episode 2 of The Mandalorian saw him testing this new body's Force abilities for the first time. Palpa-Yoda will be the villain of The Rise of Skywalker, you'll see.

Also, this could legit have been a plotline from the old Expanded Universe.

-- Sean Keane, Staff Reporter