Mattel is releasing a new talking plush of Babu Frik, the tiny and lovable droidsmith from “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
By Emily Ryan
We first met Babu Frik at a pivotal moment in the film: with the Resistance on its way, he is our heroes’ only hope for accessing the information inside C-3PO needed to save the day – and soon you too will be able to have one of your very own!
The plush features six sayings from the film, including “Hey heeeeeeeey!” and “Hello, I Babu Frik.”
The senior product designer at Mattel, Alexander Lathrop, recently spoke with StarWars.com to discuss how he and his team translated Babu Frik’s few moments on screen into an adorable toy.
“We began this project in January, almost a full month after the movie was released,” Lathrop tells. “Coincidentally, it was also one of the first projects I worked on when I started at Mattel. When I started designing, I had already seen ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ in theaters and instinctively knew the character would be perfect for plush; I’m glad everyone else at Lucasfilm and Mattel thought so, too.”
The project was about six months from concept to completed sculpt; its key feature being a hybrid plush toy married with a hard, molded head.
“We definitely thought about a soft face at first. But his face has so much character, and it just made sense to try and capture that as accurately as possible,” said Lathrop. “There is so much subtle detail in his face that would possibly be lost if we tried to do a soft face that we eventually opted to go this route as the proper way to represent Babu.”
This isn’t the first time Mattel has used the two for an adorable effect. Their plush of The Child from “The Mandalorian,” released earlier this year, featured the same hard, molded head and plush, huggable body. However, the conception of the Babu Frik plush presented some challenges.
“Babu was tough because, even though he is so cute, from a toy perspective we aimed to soften him up a bit without losing his essence. Basically, we wanted to portray what people see when they think of Babu Frik, not a carbon copy of the amazing puppet,” said Lathrop. “One of the things we really focused on getting dialed in just right is the subtle asymmetry in Babu’s face. Incorporating that into our sculpt really brought him to life in a wonderful way I think!”
Mattel’s Babu Frik is available now for pre-order exclusively at Target.