A certain mossy-toned, pint-sized Jedi Master waddled into the pop culture zeitgeist at an auspicious time, when Disney+’s The Mandalorian and anticipation for The Rise Of Skywalker worked in tandem to bring maximum attention to the Star Wars franchise. In addition, some would say that before Baby Yoda, there was a troubling dearth of tiny, adorable versions of larger-than-life cultural icons. (It’s us. We’re saying this.) Since November, the lil’ bub has been prospering, delivering meme after meme and cornering the market like a frog-eating, mug-wielding boss.
But before he gets too comfortable, there may be a new contender aiming to dethrone him as the Biggest Cutie Of The Moment. The Japanese film trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog, which dropped yesterday, opens with a brief origin story featuring a young Sonic—or Baby Sonic, as he is dubbed by Paramount Pictures’ Japanese Twitter account—zooming through Emerald Hill Zone and seemingly having the time of his life. We can’t imagine that there will be much more to this moment in the movie’s overall narrative, but that isn’t stopping the studio from hopping onto current trends and squeezing every possible “awww”-inducing meme from waiting audiences.
Paramount already appears to be confident in their tiny hero’s potential impact, as they are releasing Baby Sonic merchandise upon release, starting with key chains. That’s a little different from Disney’s decision to hold off on releasing Baby Yoda toys until Spring 2020 for the sake of preserving spoilers. All of this comes after Sonic The Hedgehog’s rough start, sparked by the initial trailer’s reveal of a Sonic straight out of Uncanny Valley, human teeth and all. A recent, costly redesign pushed the film’s premiere from its original November date to February 14, 2020.