For anyone following The Mandalorian or not living under a rock, you’ll know who Baby Yoda is. The question is, did Disney+ really put show secrecy over a giant merchandising opportunity like this? According to CNBC, they did — and that is huge news in the streaming war.
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If they had quality merchandise ready, Disney would have been swimming through dollars like Scrooge McDuck. Baby Yoda is already an internet rock star, but a rock star with shoddy merchandise.
Baby Yoda is not only an intriguing, mysterious character that’s helping drive up interest in The Mandalorian, but is also a huge draw in terms of merchandise.
Disney either put the surprise appearance over profits, or failed to recognize this opportunity. The latter is impossible, because this empire is strong in merchandise sales (and the Force).
What Jon Favreau wants, he gets
In the CNBC report, it’s stated that none of The Mandalorian‘s Disney+ promotional materials included Baby Yoda. This was because showrunners Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni didn’t want to spoil the surprise. This is how we know Disney put the show over profit.
“An action figure can take six months. Plush is quicker, cut and sew is much quicker, maybe a couple months.”Trey Swartz, director of business development at Fifth Sun via CNBC
What this means is that it could be after Christmas before quality Baby Yoda merchandise is available. This only adds more weight to the importance Disney is putting onto their streaming service.
Not business as usual
If this was business as usual and not a battle for subscribers, Disney+ wouldn’t have got exclusivity over Baby Yoda. There would be toys and plushies already.
We can see how Disney usually handles merchandise: they have toys on the market as content launches. This happened with Frozen and even Star Wars theatrical releases. Character spoilers don’t matter. For instance, Captain Phasma action figures were out long before we knew the character was a throw-away for the new Star Wars trilogy.
What this means for Disney+ going forward is unclear, but it’s proof that this streaming service is getting special treatment, and it’s going to need it to come out on top of this streaming war.