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Gremlins' Joe Dante Isn't Mincing Words In His Dig At The Mandalorian

"The Mandalorian" has been a massive success for the franchise set in a galaxy far, far away. Season 4 is currently in the works, even though the third installment hasn't been released yet. That said, the first two seasons have given Disney and Lucasfilm plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about the show's future, but they might have lost one big-name filmmaker as a viewer already.

Created by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, the "Star Wars" spin-off series chronicles the action-packed journey of Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), a morally grey bounty hunter who becomes a hero after adopting an adorable pint-sized creature known as Grogu, aka Baby Yoda

While Din is cool and all, Baby Yoda is the character fans have been raving about since "The Mandalorian" dropped on Disney+ back in 2019. According to Vanity Fair, the pointy-eared creature is a generation-spanning pop culture phenomenon who's stolen hearts and inspired many people to create memes in his honor. A big deal, he is. 

However, not everyone has been feeling mushy over the infant-sized bundle of joy. Joe Dante, the acclaimed filmmaker behind the "Gremlins" movies, had some choice words for "The Mandalorian" and its little merchandise machine during a recent interview. Bold, he was, too. 

Did The Mandalorian rip off Gremlins?

Joe Dante knows all about the power that cute pint-sized creatures can have on people. After all, the "Gremlins" flicks introduced the world to Gizmo, the kind, cute, and cuddly Mogwai who helps Billy (Zach Galligan) and Kate (Phoebe Cates) defeat an army of nasty creatures that enjoy smoking and causing havoc. Gizmo's heroics have made him a beloved pop culture icon in his own right, but did he inspire the creators of "The Mandalorian" by any chance? Dante seems to think so. 

The "Gremlins" director recently sat down with Datebook to discuss the legacy of "Gremlins," which led to him throwing some shade at "The Mandalorian" and Grogu for seemingly pinching ideas from his movies. "I think the longevity of (the films) is really key to this one character (Gizmo), who is essentially like a baby," Dante told the publication. "Which brings me, of course, to the subject of Baby Yoda, who is completely stolen and is just out-and-out copied. Shamelessly, I would think."

Jon Favreau might dispute that claim, though, as he previously told Deadline that Baby Yoda was inspired by the eponymous alien in Steven Spielberg's "E.T. the Extraterrestrial."