The new Star Wars trilogy is underway, but as Star Wars: The Force Awakens easily showed, there are still plenty of ties to the original trilogy. The latest movie treated fans to appearances from Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker, and all but one of those folks (sorry, Han) will be returning next year for Star Wars: Episode VIII. Now there’s talk that wise old Jedi Master Yoda might make an appearance from beyond the grave.
With Star Wars: Episode VIII deep into production, Indie Revolver has heard that Yoda’s voice actor and original puppeteer Franks Oz reportedly recorded new audio for the movie and is not doing any visual work, though that could be subject to change. Yoda has been a CGI character in the live action movies since 2002’s Attack of the Clones (they even replaced The Phantom Menace’s puppet Yoda with the CGI model several years back), but Indierevolver mentioned later in the article that an Yoda puppet had been constructed for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the event it was needed. So if we see the green…whatever he is in person during Episode VIII, there’s a slight chance Oz’s voice will be coming out of a physical thing rather than a CGI creation. That’s assuming, of course, that Yoda’s voice won’t simply be heard from the Force, like what happened in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
This isn’t the first time that Yoda has been rumored to appear in Star Wars: Episode VIII. Last month, Frank Oz was reportedly spotted at Pinewood Studios in London, where Episode VIII is shooting. While it’s possible that visit was for something else (maybe he was snagging one of those fun stormtrooper cameos), providing new Yoda dialogue seems like the best bet for how he’s involved. The wizened Jedi Master has been dead for over 30 years in the Star Wars universe, but as we saw at the end of Return of the Jedi, he successfully became a Force Ghost. Maybe while Rey is training with Luke Skywalker, ethereal Yoda will pop in for a visit to pass along his own wisdom to her.
Although Yoda’s last chronological in-universe appearance was in Return of the Jedi, the last time moviegoers saw him on the big screen was in 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, the last entry in the prequel trilogy. Frank Oz’s Yoda was briefly heard in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as one of the many voices in Rey’s Force vision after touching Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. Along with the seventh live action Star Wars movie, Oz recently reprised Yoda in two episodes of the animated series Star Wars Rebels, the first time he’d done so since Revenge of the Sith (Tom Kane voiced him in Star Wars: The Clone Wars). The character has been a pop culture icon since he was introduced in 1980, so any chance to fit him organically into a new Star Wars movie would be most welcome.
Star Wars: Episode VIII hits theaters on December 15, 2017.
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