Yoda

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Yoda
Star Wars character

Portrayed by Frank Oz (puppeteer, voice)
Warwick Davis (costume, Episode I)
John Lithgow (Radio)
Tom Kane (Clone Wars, video games)
Fictional profile
Species Unknown
Gender Male
Position Jedi Grand Master of the Order
Jedi Master of the High Council
Affiliation Jedi Order
Galactic Republic

Yoda is a fictional character in the Star Wars space opera franchise created by George Lucas, first appearing in the 1980 film The Empire Strikes Back. In the original films, he trains Luke Skywalker to fight against the evil Galactic Empire. In the prequel films, he serves as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order and as a High-ranking General of Clone Troopers in the Clone Wars.

Voice and animation[edit]

Frank Oz provided Yoda's voice in each film and used his skills as a puppeteer in the original trilogy and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. For the latter, in some walking scenes, Warwick Davis incarnated Yoda as well. For the radio dramatizations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Yoda was voiced by John Lithgow, while Tom Kane voiced him in the Clone Wars animated series, several video games, and the new series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

The puppet Oz used in the The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi

The make-up artist Stuart Freeborn based Yoda's face on his own face and partly on Albert Einstein's.[1][2][3][4] In The Phantom Menace, he was redesigned to look younger. He was computer-generated for two distant shots, but remained mostly a puppet.[5] The puppet was re-designed by Nick Dudman from Stuart Freeborn's original design.

Rendered with computer animation in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Yoda appeared in ways not previously possible, including his participation in elaborate fight scenes. In Revenge of the Sith, his face appears in several big close-ups, demanding highly-detailed CGI work. His performance was deliberately designed to be consistent with the limitations of the puppet version, with some "mistakes" made such as the occasional ear-jiggling.[citation needed] Rob Coleman was responsible for the character's new incarnation to the series.

Yoda was recreated in CGI for the 2011 Blu-ray release of The Phantom Menace.[6] A clip of the new CG Yoda from The Phantom Menace was first seen in the featurette The Chosen One, included in the 2005 DVD release of Revenge of the Sith.[7] The 2012 theatrical 3D release of The Phantom Menace also features the CG version of Yoda.

Character overview[edit]

"Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering."

Grand Jedi Master Yoda is among the oldest and most powerful known Jedi Masters in the Star Wars universe. Series creator George Lucas originally wished Yoda to follow his other characters in having a full name—Minch Yoda—but instead opted to have many details of the character's life history remain unknown. Yoda's race and home world have not been named in any media, canonical or otherwise, and he is merely said to be of a "species unknown" by the Star Wars Databank. Yoda's speech syntax has been analyzed and discussed by academic syntacticians, who found it somewhat inconsistent, but could extrapolate that "Yodic" has object–subject–verb word order.[8]

The films and Expanded Universe reveal that during 800 years, he had a hand in training almost every Jedi, including many of the most powerful Jedi such as Count Dooku, who is identified in Attack of the Clones as Yoda's old Padawan Learner; Mace Windu; Obi-Wan Kenobi (partially, before Qui-Gon Jinn takes over as Obi-Wan's master); Ki-Adi-Mundi, Kit Fisto and eventually Luke Skywalker. During the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars, set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, he mentions that he trained another one of the leaders on the Jedi Council, Master Oppo Rancisis. In the Star Wars prequels, it is shown that he instructs several younglings in the Jedi Temple before they are assigned to a master. This was displayed in a scene in Attack of the Clones.

Appearances[edit]

Feature films[edit]

Original trilogy[edit]

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)[edit]

Yoda makes his first film appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) arrives on Dagobah to seek his guidance, having been instructed to do so by the Force ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness).

Yoda does not initially identify himself to Luke and instead tests his patience by presenting himself as a comical and senile backwater individual, deliberately provoking both Luke and R2-D2 (portrayed by Kenny Baker). Luke is shocked when he finally realizes that this small, elderly creature is the powerful Jedi Master he was seeking. Finding that Luke has the same anger and recklessness which caused his father's downfall, Yoda is reluctant to teach him in the ways of the Force, and agrees only at Obi-Wan's behest. Before finishing his training, however, Luke chooses to leave Dagobah in order to confront Darth Vader and save his friends from the Empire's grasp at Bespin. Ignoring Yoda and Obi-Wan's warnings that he is not ready to face Vader and is being lured into a trap, Luke leaves but promises to return. Thinking his fears about Luke have been confirmed, Yoda chides Kenobi: 'told you I did, reckless is he. Now, matters are worse.' Obi-Wan laments that Luke is their "last hope," but Yoda reminds him that "there is another", referring to Princess Leia.[9]

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)[edit]

Yoda makes a brief appearance in Return of the Jedi, set a year after The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda, now sick and frail, informs Luke that he has completed his training but will not be a Jedi until he confronts Darth Vader; he also confirms that Vader is Luke's father, which Darth Vader had told a shocked Luke in the previous film. Yoda then peacefully dies at the age of 900, his body disappearing as he becomes "one with the Force". He leaves Luke with the knowledge that "there is another Sky...walk.......". Moments later, Obi-Wan's ghost helps Luke come to the realization that the "other" whom Yoda spoke of is Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), who is his twin sister.

In the film's final scene, after the Empire has been defeated, Luke sees Yoda's spirit looking upon him with pride, alongside Obi-Wan and the redeemed Anakin Skywalker (Vader's former Jedi self).[10]

Prequel trilogy[edit]

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)[edit]

Yoda returns as a younger version of himself in the prequel trilogy beginning with The Phantom Menace. The film marked the final time Oz would portray the character as a puppet. However, in the 2011 Blu-ray release of The Phantom Menace, the Yoda puppet was replaced by a CGI character to match the later depiction of the character. In the film, which is set 35 years before The Empire Strikes Back, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) brings the young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) to the Jedi Council. Qui-Gon is convinced that the boy is the fabled "Chosen One" who will bring balance to the Force, and requests the boy be trained as a Jedi Knight. Yoda senses great fear in the boy, especially his attachment to the memory of his mother, and foresees 'grave danger' in Anakin's training. The council, led at the time by Yoda's former padawan Mace Windu, initially reject the request.

Qui-Gon was soon mortally wounded in a duel with Sith Lord Darth Maul (played by Ray Park and voiced by Peter Serafinowicz), and his dying request to Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is that Anakin be trained as a Jedi. Obi-Wan, determined to fulfill his promise to his master, tells Yoda that he will train the boy, even without the council's permission. After failing in one last attempt to dissuade Obi-Wan, Yoda reluctantly gives his blessing to Skywalker's training and informs Obi-Wan that the Jedi Council also agrees with him.[11]

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)[edit]
Yoda holding a lightsaber
Yoda's CGI appearance in Attack of the Clones

Yoda makes his first CGI appearance in Attack of the Clones. Set a decade after The Phantom Menace, Yoda, now in direct control of the Order's policy as Master of the High Council in addition to his traditional position as Grandmaster, is one of the many Jedi who are concerned about the emergence of the Separatists, a group of systems rebelling against the Galactic Republic. After the second attempted assassination of Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo (Natalie Portman), Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) "suggests" that she be put under the protection of Obi-Wan, who is training Anakin Skywalker (now played by Hayden Christensen). At the climax of the film, Yoda arrives in time to save Obi-Wan and Anakin and defeats his former apprentice, Count Dooku, even though he escapes in his Solar Sailer. Although of great age, Yoda is shown to be incredibly agile and immensely skilled in lightsaber combat.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)[edit]

In Revenge of the Sith, Yoda leads the Jedi Council in pursuing the mysterious Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Palpatine has by now amassed near-dictatorial emergency powers, and begins interfering in Jedi affairs by appointing Anakin as his personal representative on the Council. The Council grants Anakin a Council seat, but denies him the rank of Master, feeling that doing so would amount to giving Palpatine a vote in the Council. Embittered by the perceived snub, Anakin begins to lose faith in the Jedi.

Anakin seeks Yoda's counsel about his prophetic visions that someone close to him will die. Yoda, unaware of the intensity of Anakin's love for Padmé, his pregnant wife, tells him to "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose." Unsatisfied, Anakin turns to Palpatine, who reveals himself as Darth Sidious, and manipulates the young Jedi into becoming his Sith apprentice—Darth Vader—with the promise that the dark side holds the power to save Padmé from dying in childbirth.

Palpatine later transforms the Republic into the tyrannical Galactic Empire, proclaiming himself Emperor for life, and orders the clone troopers to kill their Jedi generals. At this time, Yoda is on Kashyyyk, overseeing the battle between the Separatist forces and a combined command of clone troopers and Wookiees. Palpatine seems to plan Yoda's absence on Coruscant as a deliberate part of his plot, as he knows that he would not be able to get away with his plan if Yoda is present. Through the Force, Yoda feels the deaths of each of the Jedi as they are assassinated by their own troops. After swiftly killing the clone troopers instructed to kill him, he escapes with Wookiee leaders Tarfful and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and returns to Coruscant, where he and Obi-Wan fight their way into the Jedi Temple to stop a trap for any surviving Jedi. Inside, they discover that all the Jedi inside, younglings included, have been slaughtered. They then discover a holographic recording revealing Anakin as the assassin. Yoda decides to face Palpatine, sending Obi-Wan to kill his former Padawan. Obi-Wan tells Yoda he cannot kill Anakin, asking instead to go after Palpatine. Yoda insists, however, saying, "To fight this Lord Sidious, strong enough you are not." He also tells Obi-Wan that the Anakin he knew no longer exists, having been "consumed by Darth Vader".

Subsequently, Yoda battles Palpatine in a mighty lightsaber duel that wrecks the Senate Rotunda. At the start of the duel, Yoda easily gains the upper hand, and according to the script, disarms the sith lord. At the climax of the duel, Yoda holds back the Sith Lord's Force lightning, creating a blast of energy that knocks him to the Senate floor. He is forced to retreat, however, as squadrons of clone troopers pour in, and he has no weapon. He has to go into exile on Dagobah so that he may hide from the Empire and wait for another opportunity to destroy the Sith. At the end, it is revealed that Yoda has been in contact with Qui-Gon's spirit, learning the secret of immortality from him and passing it on to Obi-Wan.

Yoda is also instrumental in deciding the fate of the Skywalker children after Padmé dies in childbirth, recommending that Luke and Leia be hidden from Vader and Palpatine in remote locations. Other than the ancient Jedi Master, only the Organas, the Lars family, R2-D2 and Obi-Wan know of their true identities.[12]

Yoda Stand-Alone Movie[edit]

With the purchase of Lucasarts by Disney, and the revitalization of the Star Wars franchise, Disney decided that along with a new trilogy of Star Wars films, spin-off films will be done as well. The first spin-off film is said to focus on Yoda as the main character, but plot details have not yet been shared.[citation needed]

Expanded Universe[edit]

Yoda acts as a supporting character in Dark Horse Comics' Clone Wars tie-in comic books. He is also an important character in several novels set in the Star Wars universe, particularly Yoda: Dark Rendezvous. Yoda also appears in Disney's Star Tours: The Adventures Continue attraction, where he is voiced by his original voice actor, Frank Oz.[13]

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)[edit]

Yoda appears in the 2003 Cartoon Network animated television series Star Wars: Clone Wars. In the show, Yoda is made a General, like many of the Jedi Knights and Masters. Yoda escorts Padmé on their journey to an unspecified planet, but Yoda senses several Jedi in distress on Ilum. Using the Jedi mind trick to convince Captain Typho to take them to Ilum, Yoda saves two Jedi Knights and finds a message from Count Dooku giving orders to destroy the Jedi Temple on Ilum. In the animated series' final episode, Yoda fights side by side with Mace Windu to defend Coruscant, which is under attack from the Separatists. The two Jedi Masters realize too late that the battle is a distraction; Separatist leader General Grievous truly intends to kidnap Palpatine. The Jedi Master's effort to stop Grievous fails, and Palpatine is taken hostage, thus setting the stage for Revenge of the Sith.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)[edit]

Yoda appears in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, once again voiced by Tom Kane. Mostly Yoda spends most of his time on Coruscant with the Jedi Council, but occasionally leaves for certain tasks, like when he had to negotiate with King Katuunko on Rugosa, and fight his way through Asajj Ventress's droid army. An arc has been revealed for the shows bonus content of Yoda being the main focus of the arc.

In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Yoda is voiced by Tom Kane in this beginning of the CGI television series. He assigns Anakin Skywalker a young Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. He believes that she will help Anakin grow as a person, by giving him a higher sense of responsibility. He believes Anakin is ready to teach Ahsoka, but to let her go when the time comes, it will be a greater challenge.

In 2007, Yoda was selected by Empire magazine as the 25th greatest movie character of all time.[14] On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Yoda at number 60.[15]

A lifesize statue of Yoda greets visitors to Lucasfilm's Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco's Presidio, the headquarters of Industrial Light and Magic.

Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles (2013)[edit]

Yoda appears in Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, a web series based on the Lego Star Wars toys, created by the Lego company. Its a prequel to the main series' first movie, Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace. Yoda begins by training Padawans but then he feels a disturbance in the Force and rushes off to fight the Dark Side.

Star Wars: Rebels[edit]

Merchandising[edit]

Lego's Yoda minifigure was the first of their figures to have a shorter than usual height, created by giving the toy shorter legs.[16]

TomTom has included a "Yoda" voice as one of the Celebrity GPS voicings in their "Star Wars" voice series.[17] A comical clip of the "behind the scenes" recording of this is available on YouTube.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Star Wars make-up artist Stuart Freeborn dies aged 98". BBC News. 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2013-02-06. 
  2. ^ "Stuart Freeborn, Yoda's maker, dies". The Guardian. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  3. ^ "British make-up artist Stuart Freeborn, who created Yoda, dies aged 98". The Times. Retrieved February 7, 2013
  4. ^ Hauptfuhrer, Fred (9 June 1980). "Yoda Mania: America Falls in Love with the 26–Inch, Green, Pointy-Eared Sage and his Master Puppeteer, Frank Oz". People. Retrieved December 17, 2012. 
  5. ^ Desowitz, Bill (2002-06-14). "Yoda as We've Never Seen Him Before". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  6. ^ "Yoda Goes CGI in 'Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace' on Blu-ray". Hi-Def Digest. 2011-08-25. Retrieved 2011-08-26. 
  7. ^ Gould, Chris. "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith". dvdactive. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  8. ^ Pullum, Geoffrey K. (2005-05-18). "Language Log: Yoda's syntax the Tribune analyzes; supply more details I will!". Itre.cis.upenn.edu. Retrieved 2013-02-08. 
  9. ^ Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  10. ^ Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  11. ^ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  12. ^ Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  13. ^ "Countdown to an All-New Star Tours | Disney Insider | Disney". Disney.go.com. 2011-05-10. Retrieved 2013-02-08. 
  14. ^ "Empire's The 100 Greatest Movie Characters". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  15. ^ "The 100 Greatest Fictional Characters". Fandomania.com. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  16. ^ Martell, Nevin (2009). Standing Small: A Celebration of 30 Years of the Lego Minifigure. DK. p. 69. 
  17. ^ "Star Warsâ„¢ voices now available for TomTom devices". Starwars.tomtom.com. Retrieved 2013-02-08. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]