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Yoda Is Coming Back To Star Wars, Get The Details Here

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yodaNow that Disney owns Lucasfilm, they’ve set out to expand the Star Wars universe like never before, using the Marvel, everything-is-connected philosophy. Star Wars Rebels was the first big piece to be unveiled, and though it is obviously aimed at a younger audience, it’s being used for more than just eye candy. The things we see and the stories that unfold here will echo throughout the revamped franchise, and it is also, set between the prequels and the original trilogy, obviously keyed into the history and larger mythology. One way they show this is by bringing in familiar faces, and another big one is going to show up soon: a little guy named Yoda.

Okay, maybe the phrase “show up” is the wrong choice, as you aren’t really going to see the diminutive Jedi master in the episode titled “Path of the Jedi.” You will, however, hear his iconic voice, and it will be the actual voice you know and love. Much like how James Earl Jones lent his booming voice to Rebels when Darth Vader made an appearance, Frank Oz, who voiced Yoda, will be back for this go round.

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George Lucas Originally Wanted No Part Of Frank Oz’s Yoda Voice

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A genius, George Lucas isn’t always. Star Wars is one of the world’s most popular film franchises ever, but in the years since the first film’s release, the man behind the movies has repeatedly proven that the series became a massive hit often in spite of his wishes, rather than because of them. While this may not be the most super-secret declaration we’ve ever talked about on GFR, it’s worth discussing that Lucas originally rejected Frank Oz as the voice of Yoda, which is arguably one of the most iconic aspects of the franchise. It takes a bit of talent to pull off a Christopher Walken impression, but everybody knows how to sound like Yoda. Listen to Oz describe Lucas’ hesitance in the clip below.

As Oz puts it, Lucas wasn’t a fan of his vocal interpretation of the character in the beginning, and we might never have known the character’s throaty voice had Lucas stuck to his guns. (Or blasters in this case.) After initially rejecting Oz’s audition tape, Lucas went on and interviewed other voice actors for the part while The Empire Strikes Back was in post-production. Thinking he had no shot at the film, Oz was presumably surprised when Lucas contacted while on vacation and asked if he’d go out to the Empire set in Hawaii and record the vocal tracks.

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Star Wars Beats The Odds At Fashion Week

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Star Wars dressesProject Runway is one of my favorite guilty-pleasure shows. Sure, there’s workroom bickering and, sometimes, full-on freak outs (last season, a ticking time bomb contestant literally fled the competition and eliminated himself), but I’m consistently flabbergasted at seeing the designers create pant-suits and ball gowns from items purchased at a hardware or grocery store. Sometimes, they put elements together that seem incongruous at best and disastrous at worst, but once you see the final outfit on the runway, you have to admit that, somehow, they did indeed make it work. The judges generally encourage fashion risks, such as mixing prints or hand-drawn designs, and I can’t help but wonder what they’d think about Rodarte’s Star Wars-themed outfits.

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Yoda Could Have Been A Trained Monkey In A Mask

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monkey yodaNo, that isn’t a shot from David Lynch’s long-awaited sequel, The Elephant Monkey. You’re looking at what was originally supposed to be the most sagacious being on all of Dagobah. Before Yoda became the wrinkled green puppet we all know and love in The Empire Strikes Back — and a really long time before he became a hideous CGI cretin — George Lucas didn’t think that puppetry was at the level he needed it to be to give believable life to his two-foot-tall Jedi master. And so the obvious solution was to stick a mask on a monkey and just hope like hell everything worked out okay.

I know what you’re thinking: that’s an asinine idea that could only be thought up by the guy who created Jar Jar Binks. But it was a trained monkey, people! Not necessarily trained to hang out in swamps and teach people how to use the Force, but he probably knew how to run around and climb shit. But thanks to a crew member who worked on the primate opening act of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, they realized pretty quickly that the monkey would probably just keep ripping the mask off.

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Yoda, Frank Oz Would Reprise

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yoda-badass

With rumors that the first Star Wars stand-alone movie could feature everyone’s favorite Jedi Master, Yoda, Disney quickly played down the buzz, insisting that they were merely “kicking around” ideas. Whether or not there is any truth to these claims, a Yoda stand-alone movie could be a good idea if handled well.

Legendary voice actor and puppeteer Frank Oz expressed his interest in returning to the role of Yoda, although Disney and Lucasfilm have not approached him as of yet. Oz told Hero Complex:

“He’s in my heart. I know Yoda very deeply … I think it depends on the story, but I think at this point you can’t go back to the puppet. The reason George [Lucas] did the CGI, which I supported, was that he wanted to tell a story that would have been hampered by the physical limitations of the puppet.”

In 1980, Oz voiced and did the entire puppet work for the character of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back. He continued to bring Yoda to life until the character was turned into a CGI character for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Oz did continue to do the voice work in those films.

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Humanized Yoda Sculpture Is…Unsettling

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We’ve seen examples before of what happens when you take a character from a heavily stylized or animated reality and try to drag them into our mundane, three-dimensional reality. You wind up with a Dr. Zoidberg who looks like some sort of unholy spawn of Cthulhu, or you get a Homer Simpson that demands to be killed with fire immediately. You would think that this sort of transition would have less effect on a character that already exists in our three-dimensional world as a puppet or prop. You would think that. At least until you get an eyeful of the horror that is Flesh-Tone Yoda.