Top 10: “Baby Yoda” Moments

Welcome to Top 10. In this series, I will pick a subject in Star Wars and pick my top 10 rankings within that category. The rankings are heavily weighted towards my favourites, but will also take into account their impact on the story or the overall canon. With season 2 of The Mandalorian just weeks away, today I will be going through my Top 10 The Child (“Baby Yoda”) moments.

Before we go any further, please be aware that there will be spoilers for season 1 of The Mandalorian.

There are some things in Star Wars that transcends the fandom and becomes public knowledge even to many of those who have never seen Star Wars – just think of “I am your father.” The Child, to give him his official name (or Baby Yoda, as pretty much every member of the public will call him), brought an incredible degree of cuteness to a gritty show – probably helped by the use of a puppet whenever possible and immediately began melting the heart of everyone who watched – and certainly brought new eyes to the franchise. When I was making my “Why I Love Star Wars” post for The Mandalorian, I had to make the executive decision to exclude moments that focused on The Child as my list was getting far too long, so instead, I can devote this entire Top 10 to him.

So without further ado, let’s begin the countdown!

10: Going for a ride

From Chapter 8: Redemption

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 8 redemption ig-11 the child baby yoda

After a painful start to the episode, being hit multiple times by scout troopers, The Child is taken by IG-11, who rides a speeder bike towards the settlement to help free Din and co. from the Imperial forces. As the droid rides into battle and blasts every stormtrooper he sees, The Child just sits in front of him in a pack and gurgles and laughs. This is a very tense and serious portion of the episode, so cutting to the Child enjoying himself is a great way to relieve a little tension for us viewers, while staying true to the character.

9: Ignoring Din

From Chapter 4: Sanctuary

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 4 sanctuary din djarin the child baby yoda

After arriving on Sorgan, Din Djarin goes on a lengthy spiel to The Child, telling him to stay put and not touch anything while he is gone. I don’t think any of us really expected The Child to do as he was told here, so it was very little surprise to see the Razor Crest to open up and reveal him standing next to Din, ready to go. It’s a great little scene, allowing for a reason for Din to take The Child with him whilst also emphasising that The Child is just a little kid and Din is out of his depth having to look after him.

8: “Stop touching things”

From Chapter 4: Sanctuary

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 4 sanctuary the child baby yoda

Just beating out the last moment is one that helped set it up perfectly, but gets a higher spot as it is a little more memorable. The Child starts playing with buttons while Din is flying the Razor Crest, leading to Din telling him to stop touching things. The Child stops for a moment, before mischievously leaning in and pressing another button – all the while watching Din for a reaction – causing the ship to shake as a result of the change in controls. Again, it shows just how Din doesn’t know how to deal with a child onboard. But more than anything, watching The Child’s ears mischievously prick back up as he watches Din’s reaction to him doing what he was just told not to was something that I’m sure many parents/pet owners can relate to!

7: Force fake-out

From Chapter 6: The Prisoner

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 6 the prisoner the child baby yoda

After chasing The Child around the Razor Crest in a game of cat and mouse, Zero finds The Child hiding in Din’s bunk. As Zero raises his blaster, The Child also raises his hand and after a moment of tension, Zero explodes. It’s clearly played for us to believe that The Child has done this, until Zero falls to reveal Din standing behind him, blaster drawn. While this could have very easily been another fake-out like with IG-11 and the bounty hunter on Sorgan’s attempts to shoot The Child, what improves this one is the reaction of The Child to Zero exploding, looking at his hand as if thinking “did I do that?!” before Din’s presence is revealed.

6: Stopping the Mudhorn

From Chapter 2: The Child

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 2 the child baby yoda

With the only previously know characters of The Child’s species both being Jedi (Yoda and Yaddle), it’s understandable that many would assume that The Child would be Force-sensitive. Well we got confirmation as Din took on the Mudhorn, as The Child managed to stop the Mudhorn’s charge by lifting it into the air, allowing Din to get the kill. While this was a great reveal in itself, it was done so well by having the initial reveal just show The Child raising its hand and the Mudhorn stopping, only for the focus to shift to Din realising that he hasn’t been trampled and looking up to see the Mudhorn levitating, before looking to The Child, who is clearly concentrating with all his might, while the score from Ludwig Göransson also immediately changes from something reminiscent of a rampaging animal back towards the more Western-style tones with a mystical twist.

5: Healing

From Chapter 7: The Reckoning

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 7 the reckoning the child baby yoda greef karga

So this is an interesting one as part of the impact probably depends on whether you saw this before or after The Rise of Skywalker. For me, I was lucky enough to see the episode the day before the movie, so this was the first time I got to see someone use the Force to heal an individual. For those who saw the movie before the series (like those in the UK who waited patiently for Disney+ to arrive and had The Child completely spoiled for them), they probably guessed that The Child could heal from the campfire scene in Chapter 2, but for me this was a huge shock with huge implications for the franchise moving forwards. That aside, the scene was still great with everyone’s reactions to The Child’s mystical ability, while Greef’s “He’s trying to eat me!” again adding some levity in a tense moment.

4: “The magic hand thing”

From Chapter 8: Redemption

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 8 redemption the child baby yoda magic hand

Taika Waititi has a great way of blending humour, action and character, and this moment as Moff Gideon attacks the crew in his TIE is a perfect example. None of the group have any blasters capable of doing any significant damage to the TIE, but Greef Karga has seen The Child use the Force (but clearly has no idea what the Force is) and thinks of a plan:

Greef: “Hey! Let’s make the baby do the magic hand thing!”

The Child: *looks at Greef blankly*

Greef: “Come on baby! Do the magic hand thing!” *waves hand to impersonate The Child using the Force*

Cara: *looks at Greef like he’s an idiot*

The Child: *waves at Greef*

Greef: “I’m out of ideas!”

Just a few seconds that bring across so much character and again bring some levity in a tense moment, while you can understand Greef’s panicked desperation and lack of understanding and The Child’s misunderstanding of what Greef wanted. I love this moment so it says a lot about the moments ahead that misses out on the top 3, but it also loses some points due to much of the moment relying on the other characters around him.

3: Dark side baby

From Chapter 7: The Reckoning

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 7 the reckoning the child baby yoda force choke

This may drop down my list over time depending how the series goes on, but right now this flies high for the shock value and the potential that could come from this down the line. The Child is watching Din and Cara arm wrestle and when he raises his hand, we all assume he’s about to help by using the Force to pull Cara’s arm down. So imagine the shock, when he instead starts Force-choking Cara! The more you think about it, the more it makes sense: The Child is at an age where he is open to influence, and – barring a few moments with Peli Motto and on Sorgan – all he has been exposed to recently is violence. The Child has probably misinterpreted the pair’s game as Cara attacking Din and has fought back. Do I believe that The Child will properly go to the dark side at some point? No, but it highlights the need for Din to find someone who understands the Force so that The Child can be trained to control his power.

The next point will contain spoilers for season 4 of Rebels

2: The fire

From Chapter 8: Redemption

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 8 redemption the child baby yoda fire

With Din badly injured, the group are all cornered in a bar, so Moff Gideon send an Incinerator trooper to burn them out. After setting the bar alight through the windows, the trooper steps into the doorway and things look bad for the group… only for The Child to step forward. The trooper lets fly with the flames direct at the group, but the flames don’t reach them and Cara, Din and Greef look on in wonder as The Child holds back a wall of flame, before flicking a hand to send the flames back at the trooper. As well as a great chance to show The Child’s strength in the Force and narratively giving a reason why The Child (who is now exhausted) can’t heal Din, leading to his moment with IG-11, what hits me every time is the similarities to series 4 of Rebels, specifically the episode “Jedi Night”, where Kanan gives his life to have his friends by holding back the flames of an explosion, and this really adds to the emotion of this scene.

1: The reveal

From Chapter 1: The Mandalorian

star wars series the mandalorian chapter 1 the mandalorian the child baby yoda

Throughout Chapter 1, all we knew about Din’s bounty was it’s location and that it was 50 years old. So even when the cot was revealed, the thoughts of a baby of Yoda’s species never even came into my mind. Just think of the shock (for those who weren’t spoiled by having to wait half a year or more for Disney+ to be available in their country) as the bounty was slowly revealed, with the silhouette suddenly revealing a familiar-shaped ear, before cutting to Din’s view as the blanket was pulled down to reveal a baby of this mysterious species. This was an incredible reveal and what I love more than anything is how this huge reveal was not spoiled in the build-up to the show, with no merchandise for The Child being created until after he was revealed in order to avoid leaks. The perfect end to a first episode that took my excitement to an even higher level.

What makes your Top 10?

Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you…

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