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Yoda is a character in the Star Wars fictional universe, appearing in the three prequel trilogy films as well as the second and third original films. Yoda dies in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, when he is around 900 years old. He is widely considered to be the greatest Jedi of all time and trained many Jedi. Yoda was also responsible for much of Luke Skywalker's training in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

Voice and animationEdit

Frank Oz provided Yoda's voice in each film and lent his skills as a puppeteer in the original trilogy and 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. Yoda has a number of voiceover artists in the Japanese dub of the franchise, including Ichirō Nagai, Hitoshi Takagi, Minoru Uchida, and Mahito Tsujimura.

Design Edit

Yoda's appearance was originally designed by United States makeup artist Raven Baxter, who based Yoda's face partly on her own and partly on Albert Einstein's. In the original trilogy, Yoda was realized as a puppet, voiced and controlled by Frank Oz. Contrary to common belief, Yoda was never constructed as a Muppet; in fact he was designed almost entirely independently from Jim Henson's company, aside from minor consulting.[1]

In The Phantom Menace, he was redesigned to look younger. He was computer-generated for two distant shots, but remained mostly a puppet.[2] The puppet was re-designed by Nick Dudman from Stuart Freeborn's original design.

Rendered with computer animation in Attack of the Clones and 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. Despite the use of advanced technology, his performance was deliberately designed to match the puppet version, with some "mistakes" made such as the occasional ear-jiggling. Rob Coleman was responsible for the character's new incarnation to the series.

Yoda has been redone in CGI for a later release of The Phantom Menace. This edition will most likely be part of a future release of the Star Wars saga. A clip of the new CG Yoda from The Phantom Menace can be seen in the featurette The Chosen One, included in the DVD release of Revenge of the Sith.[3]

History Edit

Character overview Edit

Yoda is portrayed as a powerful Jedi Master 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 has never been stated in any media, canonical or otherwise, and he is merely stated to be of a "species unknown" by the Star Wars Databank. Yoda often speaks in Object Subject Verb word order.

The films and Expanded Universe reveal that he had trained several Jedi, including Count Dooku, who is identified in Star Wars Episode II 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 prequel, it is shown that he instructs all younglings in the Jedi Temple before they are assigned to a master. This was displayed in a scene in Attack of the Clones.

The Phantom Menace Edit

In the films' timeline, Yoda first appears in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, in which Qui-Gon (Liam Neeson) brings the young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) to the Jedi Council. Qui-Gon claims that the boy is the "Chosen One" who will bring balance to the Force, and requests to train him once Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) has completed the trials necessary to become a Jedi Knight. Yoda senses great fear in the boy, and tells him, "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering," unknowingly foreshadowing his turn to the dark side years later. Yoda plays a key role in that the council's initial decision to deny the request; he believes that Anakin is clearly affected by his years as a slave, and that he still clings too tightly to the memory of his mother to be trained safely. Thus, Yoda believes Anakin's future is cloudy.

After Qui-Gon's death at the hands of Darth Maul (Ray Park), however, the Jedi Council rescinds their previous decision and permits Obi-Wan to train Anakin, despite Yoda's misgivings.[4]



Attack of the Clones Edit

In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, set 10 years after The Phantom Menace, Yoda is one of the many Jedi who are concerned about the emergence of the Separatists, a group of systems rebelling against the Republic. After the second attempted assassination of Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), Chancellor Palpatine "suggests" that she be put under the protection of Obi-Wan; who was training Anakin Skywalker (now played by Hayden Christensen).

Yoda later leads an army of Jedi and clone troopers in the film's climactic battle scene. He helps rescue Obi-Wan, Anakin and Padmé from execution at the hands of the Separatists. At the climax of the battle, Yoda duels with Separatist leader and Sith Lord Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), his former Jedi apprentice. Although seemingly frail, the ancient Yoda demonstrates agility and mastery of lightsaber combat and acrobatics through the Force. This confrontation ends with Dooku making his escape by threatening Yoda's injured comrades, Anakin and Obi-Wan.[5]

Clone Wars (animated) Edit

During the opening of the animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars, 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 that the battle is a distraction; Separatist leader General Grievous truly intends to kidnap Chancellor Palpatine. Windu goes onto a Clone Hangar to try and prevent the kidnapping, but is too late. And so it is from this point that the events of "Revenge of the Sith" unfold.

Yoda acts as a Jedi General in the Dark Horse Clone Wars tie in comic books, as well. During the CGI Clone Wars series, Yoda defeats a squad of droids by himself, as well as running many other missions.

Revenge of the Sith Edit

In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, set three years after Attack of the Clones, Yoda leads the Jedi Council in figuring out the mysterious Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Chancellor Palpatine has amassed near-dictatorial powers, and begins interfering in Jedi affairs. He appoints Anakin as his personal representative on the Council, which would effectively grant the Jedi Knight the rank of Jedi Master. The Council grants Anakin a Council seat, but denies Anakin the rank of Master, feeling that doing so would amount to giving Palpatine a vote in the Council and he has yet to take the trials. Embittered by the perceived snub, Anakin begins to lose faith in the Jedi.

Earlier, 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, tells him to "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose." Unsatisfied, Anakin instead 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 he can save his wife by embracing the dark side.

Palpatine later transforms the Republic into the tyrannical Galactic Empire, proclaiming himself Emperor, and orders the clone troopers to kill their Jedi generals via Order 66. At this time, Yoda is on Kashyyyk, overseeing the battle between the Separatist forces and a combined command of clone troopers and Wookiees. Through the Force, he 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 the help of 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 every Jedi inside, younglings included, has been slaughtered. They then discover a holographic recording revealing Anakin as the killer. 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. However, Yoda insists, 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 lightsaber duel that wrecks the Senate Rotunda. The fight ends in stalemate, in which Yoda is forced to retreat and 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. Although this is given little attention in the film, the novelization reveals that Yoda actually becomes Padawan to the deceased Jedi Master's Force ghost, 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, and Obi-Wan know of their placement.[6]

The Empire Strikes Back Edit

In Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, set 22 years after Revenge of the Sith, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) arrives on Dagobah to seek Yoda's guidance. This happens after Luke is instructed to do so, by the Force-ghost of Obi-Wan (then played by Alec Guinness).

Rather than immediately identifying himself, Yoda tests Luke by initially presenting himself as a comical, backwater individual, deliberately provoking both Luke and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker). Finding that Luke exhibits many of the flaws that led to his father's downfall, Yoda is reluctant to teach him in the ways of the Force, but agrees to do so at the spectral Obi-Wan's behest. Prior to 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. Yoda and Obi-Wan insist to Luke that he is being lured into a trap, and that he must stay to complete his training. Luke refuses to forsake his friends, but gives Yoda his promise to return. As Luke departs, Obi-Wan laments that the boy is their "last hope", but Yoda reminds him that "there is another."[7]

Return of the Jedi Edit

Yoda's final chronological appearance is in Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, set a year after The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda, sick and greatly weakened by old age, 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 the Sith Lord had told a shocked Luke in the previous film. Yoda then 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 Skywalker." Moments later, Obi-Wan's Force ghost helps Luke come to the realization that the sibling Yoda spoke of is none other than Leia (Carrie Fisher).

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.[8]

Notes Edit

  1. Yoda at Muppet Wiki
  2. Desowitz, Bill (2002-06-14). "Yoda as We've Never Seen Him Before". Animation World Magazine. http://mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=Columns&category2=&article_no=1415&page=1. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  3. Gould, Chris. "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith". dvdactive. http://www.dvdactive.com/reviews/dvd/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith.html. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  4. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  5. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  6. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  7. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  8. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

References Edit

External links Edit

[1] on the Yoda incarnations in each film. [2] a Yoda-heavy review of "Attack of the Clones".

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