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Baby Yoda: 10 lockdown lessons from the cute Mandalorian star

As The Mandalorian returns for its second series, we bring you the wisdom of the internet’s favourite cute little green alien

Disney+ couldn’t have launched in the UK at a better time, when it hit our screens in March. With children stuck at home, a century of animated classics, decades of The Simpsons and all the Marvel movies were much welcomed. And now, as lockdown restrictions return to much of the country, they’ve done it again – The Mandalorian is back for a second series from October 30.

Jon Favreau’s take on the George Lucas universe is more Spaghetti Western than Skywalker soap opera, its titular hero a frontiersman gun-for-hire. And you’d have to have been hiding out in a galaxy far, far away to not to have noticed the cutest new being in the universe, Baby Yoda – more properly known as The Child.

Despite his age, much to teach us he has. 

1 Cuteness is good for you 

Baby Yoda is weapons-grade cute. But did you know that there’s a reason why looking at him makes you feel good? It’s all down to the ‘baby schema’ effect, as proposed by ethologist Konrad Lorenz.

Baby Yoda’s infantile physical features – large head, round face and big eyes – are the same as those evolved in Earth-based nature to enhance offspring survival. It works by motivating caretaking behaviour in other individuals. Basically, those big round peepers are flooding your brain’s reward centre with dopamine, creating feelings of pleasure.

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There have also been studies showing that looking at a cute picture (or Baby Yoda GIF) can help you snap to attention and concentrate on your next task – possibly handy when your attention starts to wander as you work from home.

2 Look after your parents

The Child is all alone in the world until he crosses paths with the bounty hunter who becomes a father figure. The protective instinct goes both ways, though, and Baby Yoda will step into danger to rescue his dad.

As the coronavirus is so much more dangerous for older people than youngsters, we have to follow his example. Making a sacrifice to help someone in their time of need, whether that is putting your life on the line to rescue them from a space rhino, or merely staying in to keep them safe from disease, is the right thing to do.

3 Waste not, want not

The latest figures from WRAP (the Waste and Resources Action Programme) show that each year UK households waste a massive 4.5 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten. That equates to 10 billion meals. Now is a good time to reflect on using what we have efficiently.

Here, too, we can look to Baby Yoda for inspiration. He knows that food is precious. You need only witness him slurp up a whole frog in one go to know that he’s a true proponent of nose-to-tail eating.

4 Power has consequences 

For The Child, wielding the Force is not without cost. It’s a draining experience and leaves him weakened. Our governments must also balance how they use their powers to coerce us into doing the right thing in this crisis. Their actions will come at a price.

As the UK and Europe scrambled towards a response to the spread of Covid-19, the WHO and others were quick to praise authoritarian measures taken in China. Yet Human Rights Watch warned against uncritical praise of the country’s response.

China’s exercise of power has had serious human consequences. While the majority of these have been whitewashed thanks to the Communist Party’s control of the media, some of the stories that have leaked out are horrifying – including people who died in quarantine because their existing health needs were not met.

Across the world, the pandemic gives leaders the opportunity to grab more power, often with public support. This has historical precedence. From the Black Death on, when people fear death, they look for strong leadership and are more willing to give up their freedoms. We have no way of knowing how long it will take for us to regain what we lose. 

5 Some things are best left to the experts 

Such as epidemiology, creating vaccines, medicine, and flying spaceships. Up until now, the 21st century has seen an unprecedented erosion in the esteem afforded to expertise. But, just as Baby Yoda learned that he should leave flying to Mando lest they crash into an asteroid, so we are once again now grateful for the people with actual knowledge.

6 Soup is good for what ails you

Whether you’re a Force-sensitive baby, or an adult who needs comfort – a hearty bowl of soup will make you feel better. Soup is also a great way of using up any veg that’s lurking in your fridge and getting your five a day. Triple win!

7 Stay curious

Just because you’re stuck inside, it doesn’t mean you can’t emulate the Child’s wide-eyed curiosity. Just don’t follow his example by putting everything in your mouth (in fact, best avoid touching your face altogether). Maybe some documentaries, podcasts, online learning, or reading The Big Issue would be a better plan.

8 We are all connected

The interconnected nature of The Mandalorian became clear by the end of series one, but the broad narrative arc is a reminder that all of us are part of an entwined story. As Eddie Izzard would tell us: “No man is an island, unless his name is Madagascar.” All of our actions affect others, so we need to behave as a community, for the good of all of our society.

9 Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you can’t be powerful

It’s easy to feel like we’re tiny and powerless – but we are not. You may not be brimming with Midi-chlorians that allow you to harness the Force, but we can all take responsibility for our own actions. Each of us has the chance to stop the virus spreading. In our new reality, the how-to of being a hero has shifted to include: washing our hands; staying at home, buying only what we need. Try to use your power for the good of all.

10 There’s no shame in hiding under your duvet sometimes

This year has been rough on all of us. It’s OK to feel scared, sad or anxious. You might be a mysteriously powerful toddler recharging in his floating crib, or a regular person hiding under their duvet, either way – making time to take care of your wellbeing is a valuable aim.

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