Star Wars' Dave Filoni Offers Surprisingly Relatable Reason Why Yoda And Yaddle Don't Speak Alike

Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back and Yaddle in Tales of the Jedi
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Yoda is easily one of the most recognizable characters in the Star Wars canon – and all of pop culture, for that matter. One of the things that makes him so distinct is his backwards speech pattern. Interestingly though, the recently released series Tales of the Jedi raised a big question about the Jedi master’s way of speaking via its inclusion of Yaddle. The fellow Force-wielder, who is of the same species, doesn’t talk that way, a development that prompted the need for some clarification. Thankfully, producer Dave Filoni offered a reason for it, and it’s actually quite relatable.

Tales of the Jedi marks the first time that Yaddle, who made her first on-screen appearance in 1999’s The Phantom Menace, has ever taken center stage in a TV or movie production. Here, the Jedi is voiced by Mandalorian director Bryce Dallas Howard, and many were likely surprised that she gave the character a traditional speaking style. Dave Filoni revealed that he and Howard did consider whether the heroine should speak backwards. However, Filoni ultimately opted against it, due to something OG Yoda actor Frank Oz once told him: 

Does she speak backwards? I’m like, ‘No, I don’t think so. I think that’s a Yoda thing. Frank Oz told me once that Yoda speaks that way specifically in honor of his own master. That was what he had thought about it. I try to keep moving forward these thoughts. And Bryce on her own made a great Yaddle.

The comments that the Lucasfilm super producer shared with Nerdist make sense for multiple reasons, and all pertain to generation gaps. Yoda is older than Yaddle and therefore, belongs to a different generation. The former’s desire to adopt his master’s tongue is very relatable, especially since many of us also pick up certain dialects from our elder family members. In addition, Bryce Dallas Howard’s fresh take on the character further signifies how the franchise’s newer stars are trying to forge their own paths when it comes to their roles.

It’s unclear as to when the narrative reason for the master Jedi’s signature form of articulation was established. However, Frank Oz previously explained a BTS reason for it, which occurred during the development of The Empire Strikes Back. The iconic actor explained that there was some “odd syntax” in the original screenplay, though it still allowed the character to speak colloquially. Oz then suggested to George Lucas that the diminutive hero speak backwards, and he approved. Needless to say, the actor’s suggestion proved to be very impactful. 

Now that we know Yaddle doesn’t speak like Yoda, fans can now make an assumption about The Mandalorian’s Grogu a.k.a. Baby Yoda. The child has yet to actually speak on the show, aside from providing a few adorable coos here and there. However, given the logic Dave Filoni provided, we can assume that Mando’s surrogate child will talk normally as well once he comes of age. 

This is a pretty cool nugget of information from Dave Filoni, who’s been with Lucafilm for some time now and is well versed in Star Wars lore. Of course, there are still a number of things fans don’t know about Yoda – or Yaddle and Grogu. But for now, I’m certainly satisfied with having at least one mystery cleared up.

To see Yaddle in action, check out Tales of the Jedi, which is available to stream using a Disney+ subscription. Be sure that you keep up to date on upcoming Star Wars movies and TV series as well.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.