He was the most awesome addition to the cast in The Rise of Skywalker, and now Babu Frik can be yours thanks to Mattel, who have designed this very special plush droidsmith with six voiceclips. StarWars.com chat with senior product designer Alexander Lathrop about the master builder who’s smaller than an hydrospanner.
StarWars.com: Designing toys has a tremendous lead time from when you’re first sketching the idea to when it hits store shelves. How much did you know about the character of Babu Frik as you were creating this version? How long was the project from start to finish?
Alexander Lathrop: One of the amazing things about working for the Mattel plush team is our speed to market. We began this project in January, almost a full month after the movie was released. 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. Altogether, the project was about 6 months from concept to completed sculpt.
StarWars.com: I love how many details you’ve incorporated here from his tiny welding visor to his gauntlets. How do you strike the perfect ratio to balance the soft, huggable body and the harder plastic elements?
Alexander Lathrop: Babu’s design is so iconic, he kind of made it easy on us. When you think of him, the first thing you think of is his oversized head, and since most of his details are in his face and welding helmet, it made sense to rotomold the whole head. Meanwhile, with his chubby body and long arms and legs, his body proportions are already pretty perfect for holding and hugging.