Why Do We Love Baby Yoda?
Baby Yoda helps us make sense of a valuable part of ourselves.
Posted December 5, 2019 | Reviewed by Jessica Schrader
Even if you haven’t subscribed to Disney+ and witnessed the phenomena that is The Mandalorian, it is almost impossible to miss the sudden presence of “the child” or “Baby Yoda” in the social consciousness.
So what is it about Baby Yoda that we, as often very disparate human beings, find so compelling? Well, he’s cute of course—unbelievably, nay, painfully cute. His appearance was no doubt market-researched to make sure that he was the very cutest he could possibly be. But it goes deeper than his mere cuteness. Baby Yoda taps into something profoundly human. Though he is technically alien, the audience gets to bear witness to what it is to be small and (seemingly) powerless in a world that is bent on your destruction. While most viewers' life experience is less mortally perilous, it can often feel just the same.
In Baby Yoda, the viewer sees the archetype of the child—and on some level, perhaps they get a glimpse of their own inner child. While people have very different experiences of their own inner children—some want to push this away or pretend it isn’t there because child-parts are seen as weak or unhelpful—it is impossible to feel anything other than protective of Baby Yoda. What viewers discover, of course, is that this 50-year-old child is not helpless at all, rather he is powerful. More powerful than a great Mandalorian warrior. And just as “Baby” Yoda has this strength, so do all of our own inner children. These are not weak or useless parts of ourselves; they are parts both precious and strong, just like Baby Yoda. If viewers can begin to imagine a lovable Baby Yoda living inside of their mind, rather than imagining their inner child being an unwanted burden, they can begin to shift their perspective of what it means to have a relationship with this part of themselves.
This understanding of our connection to Baby Yoda offers an opportunity for viewers to harness the power of Therapeutic Fanfiction to rewrite the narrative of their life experience. When feeling hurt or vulnerable—instead of immediately pushing away that part of themselves—fans can ask themselves what their internal Baby Yoda wants to do in this situation. Does he want to use his bit of "The Force" and work through it (and then take plenty of rest afterward), or is it perhaps time to ask for the help of a Mandalorian in our own lives who can assist us on the journey? Does Baby Yoda want to play with a tiny ball or sip a cup of broth? And if so, can we accept that reality and allow this play and contentment in without questioning its motives?
Baby Yoda invites viewers to have more compassion for ourselves and to consider the truth that within each of us lives a precious child who is too cute for words and is sometimes in need of a metaphorical protective bassinet, a Mandalorian, and a hot cup of broth.
Garski, L.A., & Mastin, J. (2019). Beyond Canon: Therapeutic Fanfiction and the Queer Hero’s Journey. In L. Rubin (Ed.), Using superheroes and villains in counseling and play therapy: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals. New York, NY: Routledge.