Speaking to Esquire, Abrams spoke about the expansive nature of the Star Wars universe and how that allows familiar characters, locations and themes to be consistently reinvented and reintroduced.
"Look, I think that the fun of telling stories in this galaxy is that you get to take things that are familiar and you get to adjust them, augment them, comment on them, continue them," he said. "It’s a world that is looking to be expanded. I mean, the original movies did the most remarkable thing in referencing the Clone Wars and the Empire and the Senate, and the Old Wars, and never showing any of these things. But the painting that was created of this past canvas, it’s incredible how intimate it was. But you always felt that there was a peripheral life and history and world beyond what you were seeing."
He then went on to explain why Baby Yoda specifically speaks to the true nature of Star Wars.
"Star Wars is sort of constantly expanding and sort of ever-expanding," he continued. "And the ability to choose a character like Yoda and say, “What if we created a baby Yoda?” The reason these things are reasonable to people is because it’s not just nostalgia but it’s taken something that is meaningful, a story that has deep roots and potency and resonates with a human heart, a beating heart. These are the kind of things that, when they hit, when there’s something that feels like, 'oomph,' it’s not just cute but it implies a story. It sparks the imagination. That’s the thing, whether it’s bringing back Lando, and wanting to know what’s been going on, to introducing a brand new character, and brand new droid or a brief glimpse of a baby Yoda. All these things are about the possibility, potential, and that’s the very heart of what Star Wars is."
Created by Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog and Nick Nolte. It is now available to stream on Disney+.