This year's hottest toy doesn't (officially) exist yet, and it won't be ready for Christmas.
"The Child" from the Disney+ series "The Mandalorian," better known as "Baby Yoda," is all over the internet right now through memes, fan art and even a viral song. But despite the child's fame, the new character doesn't exist "in real life" yet.
"The Mandalorian" premiered on Disney+ in mid-November. But officially licensed "Baby Yoda" collectibles, figurines and plush toys won't be available until the spring of 2020.
"I have to thank Disney and LucasFilm because the way the cat usually gets out of the bag with that stuff is merchandising and toy catalogs and things like that," said "The Mandalorian" show runner Jon Favreau when explaining to "Entertainment Tonight" that delaying "Baby Yoda" toys helped avoid spoilers and leaks.
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Apparel, phone cases and mugs were available soon after the series' debut. And that's because those items take less time to design, produce and ship than toys and figurines.
The only problem is that you can't really cuddle with a T-shirt.
This demand goes to show that the industry is growing, but the amount of time that goes into designing and then shipping a toy or collectible isn't necessarily rapid-fire.
When "Guardians of the Galaxy" came out in 2014, Funko was the very first company to release an official "Dancing Groot" collectible. It was unveiled 22 days after the movie's release, but it wasn't available to buy until four months later.
This year, Funko again was one of the first official merchandisers for "Baby Yoda," but its collectibles won't be available until May of 2020 — six months after the debut of "The Mandalorian."