Baby Yoda Balloon Takes a Test Flight Ahead of Macy's Parade
”His giant ears were an unexpected challenge of their own,“ art director Reis O’Brien says
“Baby Yoda” aka Grogu captured hearts and became an internet sensation when he debuted on “Star Wars” spinoff series “The Mandalorian.” Now, the pint-sized creature is getting the full-sized treatment he deserves – thanks to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
On Saturday, pop culture collectibles company Funko tweeted pictures of the Grogu balloon’s test run.
The massive – and truly adorable — inflatable is of Baby Yoda himself and, separately, his precious silver ball from the Razor Crest ship. Like his Funko Pop! figurine, balloon Grogu has shiny black eyes and an enlarged green head seemingly attached directly to his neckless body, donned in an oversized robe. His outstretched arms that are held by handlers on the ground with string to prevent him from floating away make it appear as though he is flying.
The collaboration between Funko, Lucasfilm and Macy’s was announced on Sept. 9. Art director Reis O’Brien, who created the original design, spoke to StarWars.com about the challenges of taking Grogu from Pop! character to the epic proportions of 41-feet high, 29-feet long, and 37-feet wide.
“Thanks to the strong creative relationship with Lucasfilm, we knew we could develop a fun, charming and iconic moment,” he said. “After a crash course in how the Macy’s balloons are constructed, we started the creative process inspired by everyone’s love for Grogu. His giant ears were an unexpected challenge of their own, but once we finally got a peek at the final result we knew that all of our hard work and collaboration had paid off. There’s going to be a whole lot of cuteness floating above the streets of New York City come Thanksgiving morning.”
Brian Merten, senior manager of product design at Lucasfilm, also weighed in on the “supersized challenges” that the project involved.
“Bringing Grogu to life as a 37-foot-wide balloon was no small feat and took close collaboration with the Funko design team, as well as the balloon designers from Macy’s. I am very happy with the result and can’t wait to see it in the parade!” Merten said.
Grogu is the first character from the “Star Wars” universe to be featured in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is now in its 95th year.
To celebrate the milestone, Funko and Lucasfilm are also developing a line of deluxe bobbleheads, keychains and apparel based on the Grogu-inspired balloon, which will be available exclusively at Funko.com.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationwide on NBC, Thursday, Nov. 25, from 9 a.m. to noon in all time zones.
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