'Gremlins' director Joe Dante has claimed that Baby Yoda was "completely stolen" from his film's character Gizmo.
The 75-year-old filmmaker helmed the 1984 horror-comedy film and the 1990 sequel 'Gremlins 2: The New Batch' and feels that Baby Yoda – who first appeared in the 'Star Wars' spin-off series 'The Mandalorian' – is a "shameless" rip-off of the creatures – who are led by the loveable Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel in the movies).
Joe told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper: "I think the longevity of (the film) is really key to this one character (Gizmo), who is essentially like a baby.
"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."
'Gremlins' star Zach Galligan previously addressed the similarities between the two characters but was happy to see people debating about the topic.
Speaking last year, the 58-year-old star said: "People have been bombarding me on social media with comparatives, scale drawings and everything, and coming up with all sorts of theories about whether or not there was any kind of conscious decision behind it.
"All I can say is this: In many ways, it's really great because it's always very helpful in media to have a foil. Which one do you like better? Which one was first? It just is another kind of narrative you can use to drive people's engagement."
The 'Gremlins' franchise is set to return with the HBO Max animated series 'Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai' – which Dante worked on as a consultant – and the director claims that the series remains popular because of the theatrical experience.
Joe said: "The people in my generation who loved movies love them because they saw them with an audience.
"I've seen these pictures over the years many times all over the world, and they always play well in a crowded theatre."