The Woman Who Souped Up Baby Yoda’s Popularity

Baby Yoda, the Star Wars universe’s littlest, most precious Force user and The Mandalorian’s breakout star, seems to have won more of the internet’s heart than any creature since cats. Each episode of The Mandalorian ushers in a new, squeefully sweet Baby Yoda meme, but it’s done nothing to dim the youngling’s appeal. Nobody cares that the pipsqueak hasn’t said a word, or that no one knows its name or gender or backstory yet. All that matters is that everything the Child (as it’s officially known) does is way too stinking cute.

This week, people are acting as if Baby Yoda invented sipping soup.

It’s a meme that seemed to spill out from all sides—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—but the craze started in part with a tweet by Julie Benson, a writer for the DC comic Batgirl and the Birds of Prey and television shows like Wu Assassins, The 100, and Nickelodeon’s upcoming Star Trek animated series. “That scene of Baby Yoda sipping soup in episode four was memorable because of its perfect comedic timing after that epic fight sequence,” Benson says. “I vividly remember my sister and writing partner Shawna and I going from laughter to incoherent squealing at the sight of Baby Yoda slurping away.” The tweet that followed turned the squeal into a homey imaginary scene.

Though a bit surprised by the outpouring, Benson has some theories about the tweet’s virality. “I think I unwittingly hit the trifecta of universal goodness: moms, Christmas, and Baby Yoda,” Benson says. “Of course, if Baby Yoda turns out to be a murderous sociopath, I have a different tweet for that image.”

Other meme makers imagined different scenarios unfolding in front of Baby Yoda’s adorably wise eyes.

The moment inspired cross-fandom and meme-mixing references.

Before long, people decided that Baby Yoda wasn’t just slurping up soup but dethroning a longtime kingpin of the meme-o-sphere.

On one level, the Baby Yoda craze is a nothing story: Cute things are cute, humans are practically programmed to adore them, and Disney knows this. On another, it’s astounding that of all the cute things in a giant global internet, a small green creature sipping from a bowl is what has brought people together this week. “Baby Yoda has been bringing people joy online for weeks, so I knew pretty much any Mandalorian tweet would get some response,” Benson says. “However, I didn’t think everyone would ‘see’ what I saw in that image. Apparently, lots of people did. That reminds me, Disney+, I assume my publicity check’s in the mail, right?”

What exactly are people seeing in Baby Yoda? Whether it’s a mom looking on at kids unwrapping presents or a roommate watching their friend prepare to get sloshed, the feeling is more or less the same. It’s a sense of calm (ranging from benign to coyly judgmental) while looking at chaos. It’s poise in the face of mayhem. Thank you, Baby Yoda. Thank you, soup. This is the best mood the United States-centric internet has been in for months.

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