“When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not.” Yoda- Return of the Jedi
Yoda was the small, green Jedi master from the Star Wars movie franchise. He was revered within the Jedi Order for his wisdom, his powers with the Force and his skill with a lightsaber. He made his first appearance in Empire Strikes Back, and played an integral role in training Luke in the ways of the Force. Below are 46 awesome facts about this iconic character.
45. A Great Mystery
Very little is known about Yoda, and George Lucas has admitted that it’s intentional. No one knows what planet he’s from, what species he is, or pretty much anything else. Lucas felt that writing it down and making anything official would take away the mystery, and even he doesn’t want to find out.
44. Superimposed for Art
Saudi artist Shaweesh superimposed Yoda’s image into a 1945 photograph of foreign minister King Faisal as part of a series in which symbols of American pop culture are inserted into archival photos of historical events. The photograph showed Yoda sitting next to the King at the ceremony for the creation of the United Nations. Shaweesh said he used the U.N because Yoda is “wise, strong, and always calm.”
43. The Force Needs No Cane
Later in life Yoda used a cane to help him walk, but he also had the ability to quickly throw it aside when he needed both hands to manipulate the Force. When you're 900 years old, that's pretty impressive.
42. Top 100
Empire magazine named Yoda the 38th greatest movie character of all time in 2015. Other great Star Wars characters on the list included Darth Vader and Han Solo.
41. Left You Should Turn
In 2011, the company that manufactures the GPS TomTom added Yoda as a navigator voice. Just type in the address, and directions he will give!
Just follow Yoda!
40. Buffy the Jedi Master
As silly as it sounds, Buffy was the name that Lucas originally used for Yoda, but the screenwriter changed it to Minch Yoda and then dropped the Minch. Yoda is Sanskrit for “warrior”, which seems a lot more fitting.
39. Jedi of Many Hats
Yoda had a number of important roles. He was the Grand Master of the Jedi High Council, Master of the Jedi Order, and a general during the Clone Wars.
38. Couldn’t Keep Him on the Path
Yoda was against allowing Anakin Skywalker to join the Jedi Order from the beginning, and when he was overruled, he tried to keep Anakin on the right path. But even Jedi Masters fail once in a while, and Anakin was ultimately fell to the dark side.
37. Watched from Afar
After being unable to defeat Darth Sidious in response to the execution of Order 66, in which Sidious had all of the Jedi slaughtered, Yoda went into self-imposed exile. During his exile, he watched the other Jedi survivors from afar and managed to give them guidance.
36. A Laundry List of Trainees
Luke wasn’t the only Jedi that Yoda trained throughout the galaxy. For 800 years, he was responsible for training countless high-profile Jedi. In Episode V, Obi Wan claimed to have been trained by Yoda, but Episode 1 contradicts this statement, and fans are still arguing about it to this day.
35. The Einstein Connection
Stuart Freeborn was the make-up artist responsible for creating Yoda’s appearance. He said Yoda's bald head, the wrinkles, and the pointed chin were based on his own reflection, but the upper lip is actually Einstein’s mustache. The move was a deliberate attempt to trigger a subconscious association with Einstein, thus making him seem intelligent before he even spoke.
34. No Ordinary Ghost
At the end of Return of the Jedi, Yoda turns up alongside Anankin and Obi-Wan as a ‘Force Ghost’. The ability to survive demise wasn’t typical of all Jedi, but Qui-Gon Jinn rediscovered the ability, and sent Yoda and the five Force Priestesses to master it.
33. Yoda Bat
The Yoda Bat is a newly discovered species of bat that was recently discovered in a remote rain forest in Paupa New Guinea. The tube-nosed fruit bat bears a striking resemblance to Yoda, so they decided to name it after him.
32. Master of the Sword
Yoda was one of the most skilled Jedi, when it comes to manipulating the Force, in the history of the galaxy, and was possibly the greatest Jedi duelist of his time. He displayed amazing speed and dexterity while fighting, and would leap and twirl in the air. Very few Jedi were able to fight with him on equal terms.
31. Wanted CGI
George Lucas alleges that he put off making the Star Wars Trilogy because he didn’t think that he could adequately make Yoda fight without the use of CGI. The problem was ultimately solved by the use of an animatronic Muppet version of Yoda and some clever camera work. Lucas has also admitted that making Yoda believable was the most difficult part of making the film.
30. Sort of and Not Quite Yoda.
It’s well-known that Frank Oz was the voice of Yoda, but he almost wasn’t. Jim Henson was offered the role, but was too busy with The Great Muppet Caper and recommended Oz. He also recommended Warwick Davis who ended up playing the Ewok Wicket in Episode VI, and Deep Roy who subbed in for Yoda in full-body walking shots.
29. Use the force
Yoda was known to be talented in the art of telekinesis. On one occasion, he telekinetically lifted and carried an X-Wing, and on two other occasions, he caused two C-9979 landing craft to collide with each other. Even Darth Tyranus, a temple master of telekinesis was unable to defeat him.
Yoda was able to clearly foresee future events, and could feel the deaths of individual people from all over the galaxy. His training also taught him how to become one with the force and retain his own identity after passing.
27. Acting vs Performing
In an interview with SYFY, Frank Oz explained the difference between playing Yoda and playing the Muppets. He said “With the Muppets, I performed. With Yoda, I acted”.
26. Was He There?
That famous photograph of Yoda with King Faisal was accidentally printed in a textbook used by Saudi high school students. The Education Minister called it an “unintended mistake”, and announced on Twitter that new versions of the text are being printed. Meanwhile, the Undersecretary of Curricula and Educational Programs responsible for reviewing the text was dismissed from his post, and the ministry is working on a new process for reviewing textbooks.
25. Object, Subject, Verb Order
Yoda’s speech pattern follows an unusual pattern, object, subject, verb. Children use this when they learn to speak, and scientists believe that it’s prevalent in more than half of the modern world’s 2000 languages. Object, Subject, Verb languages are also believed to be what all human languages evolved from.
24. Say What?
Even on his deathbed, Yoda still had a lot of information he needed Luke to know, and he used his final breath to drop an explosive device. As he passed, he mustered up just enough strength to tell him that there is another Skywalker.
23. Referencing Yoda
Several movies and T.V. shows in the decades since Empire Strikes Back have referenced Yoda. In the movie E.T., when Elliot takes E.T. out trick-or-treating, ET spots and follows a kid dressed up like Yoda. In Futurama, the characters visit a theme park that tries to re-create what the year 2000 looked like. In the park, they come across an old marquee that reads: “Star Wars 9- Yoda’s Bar Mitzvah”.
22. You’re such a Yoda
Calling somebody ‘Yoda’ means that they embody one or more of Yoda’s characteristics such as being wise, calm, or a guru. It can be either a compliment or an insult depending on how it’s used.
21. Battle Meditation
Yoda was able to sway the outcome of battles by using a key force technique called ‘battle meditation’. This technique allowed him to simultaneously lift the spirits of thousands of companions, while dampening the spirits of his opponents.
20. Did a 180
George Lucas never intended to use Frank Oz’s voice in the final film, and supposedly went as far as to audition other actors for the voice and reject Oz’s tape. Not only did Lucas come around, but he thought Oz’s performance was so good it deserved an Oscar. The Academy rejected Lucas’s campaign, reasoning that a puppeteer is not an actor.
19. Purple Yoda
In 2012, a reddish-purple worm was discovered about 2.5K under the Atlantic Ocean. The large lips on either side of his head reminded researchers of Yoda, so they named it Yoda purpurata, meaning ‘purple Yoda’.
18. It Was Supposed to be Her!
An upcoming Star Wars book reveals that Yoda actually thought that Leia was going to be the one to bring balance to the force- not Luke. The book explores 40 unknown stories that fill in the gaps in the Star Wards mythology. In a story titled “There is Another”, readers learn a lot more about Yoda and his visit from Obi-Wan informing him that he must train the “Chosen One”. Yoda’s reaction is that he’s excited to train “her”.
17. Musical Parody
On his third album “Dare to Be Stupid”, Weird Al Yankovic parodied the Kink’s Song “Lola” with Yoda. The song was originally written and recorded in 1980 during the original release of Empire Strikes Back, but the musical release was delayed 5 years due to the involved process of getting the required permission from Lucas and the original songwriter. It’s gone on to become one of his most famous songs.
16. Just Short of a Millenium
Yoda passed at exactly 900 years old. Whether it was by design, or just a coincidence has never been confirmed.
15. One Time Only
Yoda was originally only meant to appear in Empire Strikes Back, and disappear into oblivion after training Luke. During pre-production of Return of the Jedi, a child psychologist advised Lucas that it needed to be clear that Vader was Luke’s father or children would think it’s a lie. Feeling that Yoda was the best Jedi for the job, he added Yoda to confirm the revalation. Yoda ended up appearing in all three prequel films, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
14. Smurf or Hobbit?
Some of the original concept art of Yoda shows a smiling blue man with a white, pointy beard and a funny hat. While his skin is clearly green in the movies, the Empire Strikes Back novelization and the Marvel Comics adaptation of the movie depict him as being blue.
13. On or Off?
Yoda was the only Jedi who kept his Jedi robe on during combat. However: His robe does fall off when he’s semi defeated by the Emperor in Revenge of the Sith. While there’s no official answer as to why, many fans believe it’s meant to symbolize the defeat of the Jedi.
11. Not the Only One
Yoda wasn’t the only member of his species (Whatever that was). A member of the Jedi Council by the name of Yaddle appeared during the events of The Phantom Menance, but all that’s known about her is her name.
10. Third Rock from the Jedi
One day, John Lithgow was having lunch with director John Madden, who was lamenting about who he could get to play Yoda in the radio dramatization of Empire Strikes Back. Lithgow responded with a perfect Yoda impression, and Madden offered him the job on the spot.
9. A Miniature Green Director
When Frank Oz was trying to figure out how Yoda was supposed to move, he asked director Irvin Kershner for guidance. Kershner demonstrated, and Oz loved it so much he is said to have played Yoda like a miniature green Kershner.
8. Get a Grip
It was impossible for Yoda to be shown in battle in a believable way before episode 2. The puppet hands couldn’t grip anything realistically, and Lucas had to wait until a fully CGI Yoda was possible before he could draw his weapon.
7. Mismatched Toes
Depending on which Star Wars film you watch, the number of toes that Yoda has changes. In Phantom Menace he has six toes, but in Return of the Jedi, Empire Strikes Back, and Revenge of the Sith he has eight. Some fans have speculated that growing extra toes later in life is part of their species, but nobody knows for sure what the reason is for the inconsistency.
6. 26 Inches in Bronze
Outside the Lucasfilm Headquarters in Presido, California is a 26 inch bronze statue of Yoda. Many Star Wars fans from around the world have come to visit the statue, as well as the 6’6” statue of Darth Vader that’s in the lobby.
5. Compensating for His Height
Since Yoda was so tiny, he preferred to use the Form IV fighting technique which is said to consist of the pure basics of Ataru taken to the highest level. Much of his lightsaber technique relied on jumps and acrobatics, which compensated for his small stature.
4. Shoto Style
Yoda’s weapon was a green-bladed lightsaber with a shortened hilt and shorter blade. He built the lightsaber under the guidance of Professor Huyang, a droid architect who had been with the Jedi Order since its early days.
3. Just Yoda
Lucas deliberately gave Yoda only one name to enhance his mystery. Some people thought his first name was Minch, but Minch was another Jedi who is the same species as Yoda.
2. You're a monkey, Derek.
George Lucas did not realize how just how difficult it would be to control a monkey on a movie set. Before Yoda was a puppet, Lucas had intended him to be played by a monkey with a cane and a Yoda mask. They got as far as bringing a trainer on set to work with the monkey, but the result was not what they intended, and they replaced the monkey with a puppet.
1. Dark Yoda
One of Yoda’s famous quotes is “I carry a darkness within me”. The statement refers to the fact that his unbreakable will has allowed him to consistently reject the dark side. In Clone Wars, when Yoda is tested by the five priestesses, he is confronted with a Dark Side shadow of himself. The more he tries to fight his shadow, the more he becomes it, and it’s only when he acknowledges that it is a part of himself that he’s able to vanquish his dark side.