As part of a wave of recent Star Wars product announcements, Hasbro revealed Operation: Star Wars The Mandalorian Edition, a game that isn’t nearly as gruesome as its title might imply. The Mandalorian’s Operation avoids the classic tabletop game’s usual surgery-focused premise, preventing players from committing an act of Imperial evil on Baby Yoda.
In order to keep the adorable little alien a secret, Disney didn’t release any Baby Yoda toys for Christmas 2019. The decision reportedly cost Disney millions of dollars, but the company apparently thought it was worth preventing leaks from spoiling the surprise. In the absence of official merchandise, bootleg Baby Yoda products inevitably cropped up, eventually resulting in crackdowns from Disney. After a drip-feed of individual product announcements, Disney finally unveiled a deluge of Baby Yoda toys and merchandise at the 2020 New York Toy Fair.
Among the new items was the Baby Yoda Operation game. Despite Operation’s traditional premise – using tweezers to conduct “surgery” on a man printed on the game board – Operation: The Mandalorian involves no surgery. Instead, Hasbro (via Jedi News) described the goal as stopping The Child’s mischief by taking away things he’s stolen from The Mandalorian’s titular protagonist and others around them, including a Thermal Detonator. The bomb’s presence makes the game’s scenario hardly risk-free, but it’s better than the alternative.
That’s not to say doing surgery on Baby Yoda would be inherently evil – sometimes babies need surgery, too, and the doctors who successfully complete those operations perform heroic acts. But it would still be a grim subject for a game, especially in the context of The Mandalorian’s plot. In the show’s third episode, an Imperial doctor takes Baby Yoda away, ordered by Werner Herzog’s character to “extract the necessary material,” apparently regardless of whether or not it kills The Child. Because Operation is all about extracting materials from things, a direct translation of the classic premise would have created disturbing connection with the Empire’s experiments.
Hasbro was able to avoid this unfortunate coincidence by having players perform another task, just as it has for previous licensed Operation games in the past. Operation Game: Star Wars Chewbacca Edition, for example, tasked players with picking pesky Porgs out of Chewy’s hair. But still, fans’ first thought upon seeing the Baby Yoda Operation box will be inevitably be something like, “What the – I’m supposed to operate on this baby for fun?” Regardless of the actual goal of the game, it’s odd that Hasbro decided to release a Mandalorian-edition Operation in the first place
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Operation: Star Wars The Mandalorian Edition will be released sometime in spring 2020.