The Touching Reason Mythbusters’ Grant Imahara Built A Life-Size Baby Yoda Before His Death

Baby Yoda on The Mandalorian (2019)

Mythbusters star Grant Imahara was well loved by those who knew him best, and it was heartwarming to see so many pay tribute to him following his sudden passing. In tributes, many remembered the engineer and TV personality for his infectious enthusiasm and immense kindness. Writer and podcast host Marc Bernardin only knew Imahara casually, but he recently remembered him fondly and reflected on one of Imahara’s last (and most ambitious) projects – a life-size Baby Yoda:

He was always incredibly warm, incredibly open and super fucking excited to do what he does. He was a robotics kid growing up. He was an electronic engineer growing up. He ended up at ILM. And he built models for Star Wars and helped design much of what you saw in the prequels. The last thing I saw him work on was a fucking life-size Baby Yoda that he built in his lab, that’s gorgeous and wonderful and does all the moving.

Those who’ve seen the footage of Grant Imahara’s custom-built Baby Yoda know just how incredible it is. The animatronic looks and moves just like the one that appears on The Mandalorian. However, what’s even more amazing is Imahara’s reason for constructing the pointy-eared infant.

As Marc Bernardin gushed about the Baby Yoda replica during an episode of his and Kevin Smith’s Fatman Beyond, J.C. Reifenberg explained that Imhara had some very sentimental plans for his creation:

He built it to bring to children’s hospitals. Because he had built a BB-8 and then they realized that BB-8 rolls all over the floor and kids go and hug BB-8 and it’s full of garbage from the floor and germs. So Baby Yoda was to bring to children’s hospitals.

If there were ever a good reason to build a life-size Baby Yoda, that would definitely be it. One can only imagine how much joy children would have gotten from getting to hold the tiny creature. It’s also cool to hear that Imahara originally built a life-size BB-8 and then decided to build another Star Wars character as a safer alternative.

Anyone who’s watched Mythbusters or White Rabbit Project knows that Grant Imahara built more than a few memorable devices over the course of his career. And as Marc Bernardin mentioned, he also worked at ILM, which allowed him to contribute to some of the most iconic film franchises of all time like Jurassic Park and The Matrix.

Though Grant Imahara is no longer with us, his memory certainly lives on through his loved ones and the various contributions he made to the worlds of science and entertainment. I think I speak for most people when I say a legacy as positive as his definitely needs to be preserved.

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Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.