If you have been on social media over the last few months, you will almost certainly have glimpsed a small, green, big-eared creature in a string of creative memes.
That creature, nicknamed Baby Yoda, has been an internet phenomenon since the launch of Star Wars spin-off series The Mandalorian on Disney+ in the US.
And UK audiences will finally get to see him as the long-awaited streaming services launches on this side of the pond today.
— The Mandalorian (@themandalorian) November 18, 2019
Original series will have episode one available at launch and new episodes will be released weekly, and available on the service every Friday at 8am.
But to celebrate the launch, two episodes of The Mandalorian will be available today, with the third released on March 27.
Who is Baby Yoda?
Officially known as The Child, the animatronic creation is operated by a team of puppeteers and is revealed at the end of the show’s first episode.
He is not, in fact, a young version of the Yoda from the films but as soon as he emerged out of his floating crib, fans immediately began to speculate about his identity.
The Baby Yoda hype is very real and very warranted pic.twitter.com/Ntuz4s1Tz2
— The Ides of Laura March (@charles_jensen) December 4, 2019
He was revealed to be the bounty that the mysterious Mandalorian of the title was hired to track down, dead or alive, but little else is known about him.
It was also disclosed that he is 50 years old, an infant compared to the 900 years adult Yoda was alive.
Why has he gone viral?
Baby Yoda was already a social media sensation before the fourth episode of the show dropped in the US, but that is when the ante was upped.
The image of him sipping broth from an over-sized mug, reminiscent of the meme of Kermit The Frog sipping tea, was an internet sensation.
“kermit sipping tea” walked so “baby yoda sipping soup” could run pic.twitter.com/WwgIbn00eX
— benji with the good hair (@sevenbenjisins) November 30, 2019
— Caroline (KE Spoilers) (@villanelleowns1) December 1, 2019
Is there merch?
The first batch of toys and gifts were announced in December, just in time for Christmas shopping.
Now fans can enjoy cuddly toys, Funko Pop dolls, t-shirts, mugs, a puzzle, phone cases, puzzles, Lego figures and even baby clothes.