In a move reminiscent of the very first scramble for “Star Wars” toys more than four decades ago, Walt Disney is asking fans to preorder Baby Yoda dolls that won’t be delivered until February.
Baby Yoda, or the Child, as Disney calls him, is the breakout star of “The Mandalorian,” the new “Star Wars” TV series that debuted last month on the company’s Disney+ streaming service.
Products available now for preorder online include a $30 Funko Inc. bobble head, a $25 plush toy from Mattel Inc. and an $11 puzzle from Buffalo Games. Some “Mandalorian” merchandise, including T-shirts and coffee mugs featuring the show’s namesake bounty hunter, are already available in Disney stores.
The company said it didn’t want to release products earlier tied to the cuddly creature because doing so would have spoiled his surprise appearance in the show.
“It was important to us that the reveal of the new character, the Child, be a special moment for fans, and we could not be more thrilled with the response,” Paul Southern, senior vice president for licensing at Disney’s Lucasfilm unit, said in a statement. More products, including Lego ones, will be coming next year, the company said.
Toymaker Kenner was caught off guard by the runaway success of the original “Star Wars” film in 1977 and sold parents IOUs good for toys delivered later.
While “Star Wars” products have been reliable sellers over the years, they hit a recent peak after the 2015 release of “The Force Awakens,” the first in the new Disney-produced trilogy.
The toy industry has struggled to find a big hit for the current holiday season, and with Baby Yoda products not yet on shelves, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to fill that role.
It’s “tough to gauge demand when there’s nothing in the marketplace,” said Jim Silver, editor of TTPM.com, a toy industry website.