Star Wars is repeating the same mistake they made with the original movie’s merchandise, only this time with The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda. Disney+ arrived with a long list of movies and TV shows available from day one, among those the Star Wars series The Mandalorian – but what viewers weren’t expecting was the appearance of a small, green character that was going to cause a big reaction on social media.
The Child, known as “Baby Yoda”, was introduced in episode one and has since been the subject of all types of memes and discussions among fans regarding its origin and connection with legendary Jedi Master Yoda. The character has become more popular than the Mandalorian himself, but as Disney decided to keep him a secret until the series was released, there weren’t any toys or products with Baby Yoda’s image, which was a disappointment for Star Wars fans – and Disney probably wasn’t expecting the character to be such a hit.
With the holidays fast approaching, Disney is now rushing to release Baby Yoda merchandise in time for Christmas, but the first batch of products was a big disappointment. Interestingly, this is not the first time Star Wars goes through this, as a similar situation happened decades ago.
Star Wars Sold Empty Cardboard Boxes In 1977
Star Wars: A New Hope was released in 1977 and it was an unexpected success – and, of course, not everyone had faith in a project like that. After Lucasfilm failed to make a deal with toy company Mego Corporation in 1976, another company named Kenner landed the exclusive rights to produce Star Wars merchandise. However, they weren’t ready for the movie’s success and rapidly-growing popularity and didn’t have enough products to offer beyond a board game, poster sets, design books, and jigsaw puzzles. Kenner was supposed to bring out a line of Star Wars action figures in time for Christmas, but these took a long time to produce, and there was no way they were going to be ready.
Kenner then came up with the idea of selling the package with a Star Wars Space Club membership, a cardboard display of the characters, a set of stickers, and a certificate inside. The explanation for the box being pretty much empty was on the certificate, which told consumers that the figures weren’t ready yet, but all they had to do was fill the certificate in, send it off, and the toys would arrive before spring of 1978. Surprisingly, this marketing move was very successful, and the Star Wars Early Bird Certificate packages sold fast.
But what worked for Kenner in the 1970s won’t necessarily work for Disney in 2019. The first Baby Yoda products turned out to be very disappointing, as they were just t-shirts and a mug with concept art of the character. Proper Baby Yoda toys won’t come out until 2020 (according to Hasbro), so at least Disney learned from the Kenner box and isn’t going to sell promises and certificates, instead taking its time to produce the toys. Hopefully, the Baby Yoda fever will continue when those products are finally released.