One of the biggest revelations to come out of last weekend’s episode of The Mandalorian was the real name of Baby Yoda. His name is Grogu, and executive producer Jon Favreau has known that since the first season, but it was fellow executive producer Dave Filoni who figured out how to finally reveal it with the debut of Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano.
Speaking of which, do you remember back when everyone was freaking out about Jon Favreau snapping a photo of Star Wars creator George Lucas holding Baby Yoda way back at the beginning of the year? It just so happens that Rosario Dawson was in full wardrobe and make-up as Ahsoka Tano that day, and she was there for that viral moment.
Vanity Fair had an extensive chat with both Dave Filoni and Rosario Dawson about last weekend’s episode of The Mandalorian, entitled “The Jedi.” It was a huge moment for longtime fans of the Clone Wars animated series because it brought Dave Filoni’s creation to life in the live-action Star Wars universe. The debut of the character also allowed fans an opportunity to finally learn The Child’s name. Filoni explained:
“The name has been around for a while. Jon told me early on in season one what it would be, which made me start to think about how people could learn the name. This gave me the idea that Ahsoka, who is very compassionate, would be able to connect with the Child, and that without words they could probably communicate through memories and experiences. Through that connection, she learns the name and then tells Mando and the audience.”
Though he’s 50 years old, Grogu doesn’t speak. He makes adorable sounds, but he hasn’t communicated with words. Through the Force, Ahsoka Tano is able to connect with him psychically and learn about what he’s been through. I’m not sure his name is as big of a deal as what his species might be called, but it’s nice that they didn’t contrive a way to reveal the information before now. But Filoni admits he had to force himself to stop just short of winking at fans by having someone call him Baby Yoda:
“I thought one of the most compelling things about introducing Ahsoka is that she is one of the few, few people that we could encounter in a story and she would say, ‘All right. I met someone like him. I’ve only ever seen one other being like this.’ I had to stop myself from doing something ridiculous like have her say, ‘Is that a Yoda baby?’ It almost demands to be said.”
With “The Jedi,” fans were given yet another crossover between the animated side and the live-action of Star Wars, following the arrival of Katee Sackfhoff as Bo-Katan. But this episode that actually provided an even more surreal Star Wars moment, especially for Rosario Dawson. One of the days she was shooting scenes as Ahsoka Tano was the same day that George Lucas visited the set of The Mandalorian. Dawson revealed that she was on-hand for the moment that took the internet by storm. She told Vanity Fair:
“I actually got to be there on the day that there’s that photo. Someone took a picture of George Lucas holding Baby Yoda. I’m still calling him Baby Yoda—Grogu! I was there that day. I was all dressed up, I was just off to the side of that photo, all done up as Ahsoka. And I remember it broke the internet when that picture came out. It was just an amazing, amazing moment, and we were all beside ourselves. It was definitely very geek-out.”
So one day on the set of The Mandalorian, the creator of Star Wars held the latest pop culture sensation while a flesh-and-blood iteration of one of the most beloved characters from The Clone Wars was standing off-camera in the first ever live-action Star Wars series. It’s kind of crazy that we’ve arrived here, but we’re certainly not going to complain.
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