In the Star Wars franchise, Jedi Master Yoda’s iconic speaking style has become so iconic that even people who have never been introduced to Yoda (Frank Oz), Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), or Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in a single Star Wars original trilogy movie — Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) — know “Yoda speak” when they hear it.
Star Wars fans first saw the now-famous Yoda puppet in Empire Strikes Back when young, untrained Luke Skywalker travels to the swamp planet of Dagobah to find the elusive Grand Master Yoda in hopes that he will teach him the ways of the Force.
After a strange and chaotic situation in which Yoda pretends to have no idea who Skywalker is, the older Jedi eventually reveals his true identity — and ultimately helps Luke realize just how powerful he is.
After all, no Star Wars fan can forget seeing Hamill’s character raise his X-wing from the murky waters of Dagobah for the first time.
Now, Yoda actor Frank Oz has shared that Yoda’s unique speaking style was never supposed to happen — he was taken by the dialogue in a single scene and asked Star Wars creator George Lucas if he could use the strangely stilted syntax for all of the character’s lines.
In a new interview, Oz said:
“It’s funny you ask about that because I was just looking at the original script of The Empire Strikes Back the other day and there was a bit of that odd syntax in it, but also it had Yoda speaking very colloquially. So I said to George, ‘Can I do the whole thing like this?’ And he said: ‘Sure!’ It just felt so right.”
77-year-old Oz remains heavily involved in the Star Wars franchise. He has most recently voiced Yoda in the Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy’s Edge virtual reality game series, the Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge (2020) game show with prequel trilogy actor Ahmed Best hosting, and in two sequel trilogy movies — Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
It is unknown when Oz will return as Yoda , if the original Yoda will ever get the chance to meet pop culture icon, Luke Skywalker’s new Padawan Grogu (AKA “Baby Yoda”) in Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s The Mandalorian saga, or if the powers-that-be at Lucasfilm will ever let us in on what Yoda’s species actually is.
Fans can also currently catch young Yoda in Star Wars: The High Republic adventures.
What do you think about this revelation about Yoda’s speech?