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The Mandalorian took Star Wars fans to that galaxy far, far away for a live-action TV show for the first time ever, but the scene-stealer of the season wasn't the Mandalorian himself. No, his little green friend, whom the internet has of course dubbed "Baby Yoda," was an instant hit. The alien tyke was brought to life by a very expensive puppet rather than CGI, and now Star Wars sound editor David Acord shared how Baby Yoda got his voice... such as it is. Animals are involved!
David Acord revealed that the first version of Baby Yoda's vocals came from two critters in particular:
I was recording animals at this wildlife rescue outside of San Diego. Two of the animals I recorded had this really cute, almost childlike quality to them. One was a bat-eared fox and one is a kinkajou.
Well, since there aren't exactly any alien babies from Yoda's mysterious species around for David Acord to record, Baby Yoda's vocalizations had to come from somewhere, and the 50-year-old baby seemingly hasn't gotten around to forming words or full sentences just yet, so it's not time for a voice actor just yet.
While most Mandalorian viewers can probably imagine what a bat-eared fox looks life out of the fox family, the kinkajou is less well-known. As it turns out, this critter is a tropical rainforest mammal related to raccoons and native to Central and South America. I'm guessing there aren't a whole lot of people who could have listened to Baby Yoda cooing and babbling and said a combination of bat-eared fox and kinkajou sounds were responsible!
Of course, David Acord went on to clarify that there were some elements added to the animal noises for the finished product of Baby Yoda's voice, saying this to THR:
Then Jon Favreau thought that they needed to be more human-sounding or something a little more relatable. We dialed way back on the animal part, and now that's just there for little grunts and coos and purring. We used some real baby vocals for when [The Child] gets really fussy and that kind of thing. Then I have some of my own vocal in there, too, for more of the articulated vocalizations, pitched way up. So it's a combination of things.
Thanks to Mandalorian boss Jon Favreau, Baby Yoda's voice doesn't just sound like two animal vocalizations mixed together. The reason Baby Yoda seems like a real baby despite everything is that there are some real baby vocals used to bring him to life! David Acord apparently also contributed to Baby Yoda's voice, and I for one would have loved to see him recording sounds for Baby Yoda.
Will Baby Yoda ever get old enough on The Mandalorian that he won't need the baby noises? Well, if he aged like a human, Baby Yoda could be talking within the span of a couple seasons, if not particularly well. Since his species apparently isn't too far past the toddler stage half a century after being born, Baby Yoda may be adorably babbling for the foreseeable future.
Baby Yoda will be back in The Mandalorian Season 2 when it kicks off in fall 2020, with Mando on a mission to protect the little guy and possibly even return him to his people. For now, you can look forward to the seventh and final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on the Star Wars TV front, rewatch past Star Wars projects on Disney+ with a free 7-day trial, and check out plenty of other options set elsewhere than the galaxy far, far away as well.