No One Likes Baby Yoda Anymore?

Toy sales have shown a massive market drop for Baby Yoda merchandise sales.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

baby yoda

When Baby Yoda appeared in The Mandalorian back in 2019, the character became an instant icon. According to recent information from inside the toy business, numbers indicate Baby Yoda may have been a fad. Bounding Into Comics reported from a tweet by Disney insider WDW Pro that toy sales for Baby Yoda have sharply declined in the past year, which has been interpreted by some as a warning sign for the entire Star Wars brand.

Ancillary revenue streams, such as toys, books, and comics, have been a staple for blockbuster franchises like Star Wars for decades. The Star Wars brand has been considered virtually immortal for a long time; when Disney purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, Star Wars seemed like a sure bet. It seemed they were right when Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed over $2 billion at the box office and Baby Yoda took over the internet a few years later.

According to the industry insider, Baby Yoda toy sales were a bastion of revenue for about two years. Since then, little green Grogu has been gathering dust on toy shelves as demand has failed to meet the over-shipped supply of Baby Yoda products. The upcoming third season of The Mandalorian may provide an uptick in interest for the toys, but further market research on the matter raised another red flag. 

baby yoda

Heads-up marketing surveys revealed that people showed greater recognition of and interest in classic Star Wars characters like Darth Vader and R2-D2 when compared directly with Baby Yoda. Vader and R2 (Artoo for any Star Wars novel fans out there) have a few decades of advantage over Grogu in the head-to-head, but Baby Yoda isn’t the only Disney-era Star Wars character struggling to maintain traction in the toy market. In 2020, only a few months after the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Diamond Select Toys reported low interest in sequel trilogy products.

According to WDW Pro’s insider source, part of the problem for Baby Yoda could be The Mandalorian’s villain, who isn’t as marketable as other villains have been. Moff Gideon, played by Giancarlo Esposito, is the primary antagonist in the show and hasn’t been that popular. While the character works well enough for the show, he’s no Darth Maul.

The toy biz insider referenced the massive demand for Darth Maul toys after the release of The Phantom Menace over two decades ago, claiming that toy play is constructed around children living out the story of heroes overcoming villains. When villains are not interesting or visually striking enough to fuel toy sales, the narrative of play that drives toy sales falls flat, and a domino effect inhibits sales across the board. Though Baby Yoda is certainly adorable, the character may not have enough narrative gusto to sustain interest.

Declining sales of Baby Yoda toys is certainly a trend to pay attention to, but it’s not the only warning light flashing on the Lucasfilm dash. Viewership for Andor on Disney+ has been alarmingly low despite excellent critical reception. Recent reports on Marvel fatigue, which indicated that about a third of Marvel fans are overwhelmed by the amount of content being released, may have more subtext than meets the eye; for Disney, it seems the numbers from all sides are reflecting franchise fatigue, and Star Wars is not immune.

Disney will try to right the Star Wars ship in March of 2023 with the third season of The Mandalorian. The show has been a hit for the streamer, and Baby Yoda has played a big part in that success. For Disney, the pressure is on for Grogu to get his groove back, get sales back on track, and have the folks at Lucasfilm once again saying, “This is the way.”