There’s no doubt that Baby Yoda was the standout star of the Star Wars franchise’s The Mandalorian series last year. The little green creature looked equal parts gremlin (like OG Yoda) and adorable (like an actual baby), but there’s one detail about the character, who is canonically named The Child, that was made to be a little more human than animal. Oscar-nominated sound editors David Acord and Matthew Wood worked on The Mandalorian and were responsible for conceptualizing Baby Yoda’s vocalization. Though Acord and Wood intended to have him sound like the kind of creature that could be found in the wild, they ultimately had to go in a different direction.
“I was recording animals at this wildlife rescue outside of San Diego,” Acord told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.” Baby Yoda’s initial voice was made up of these two animals’ natural sounds, but creator Jon Favreau “thought that they needed to be more human-sounding or something a little more relatable.” So, Acord and Wood made some adjustments. “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 [he] gets really fussy and that kind of thing.” Acord even contributed to the creation of Baby Yoda’s voice himself. “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.”