George Lucas’s Star Wars movies have plenty of striking characters. Still, few are beloved as the green master Jedi Yoda, voiced by legendary filmmaker Frank Oz. Iconic the character’s voice is, and no one can deny that Yoda’s speech patterns have left their mark on pop culture. But in a recent interview, Frank Oz revealed that Yoda was originally meant to, god forbid, talk normally.
Speaking to The Guardian, Oz recounted his time working with famous cinematic puppets, such as Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and of course the sci-fi green alien, Yoda. When the filmmaker began talking about his time voicing the Jedi Master, Oz revealed the back story behind the character’s distinctive voice, and how he came up with the idea for the wonderfully weird speech pattern.
“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,” Oz explained. “So I said to George, ‘Can I do the whole thing like this?’ And he said: ‘Sure!’ It just felt so right.”
Frank Oz has a long history with the science fiction movies, as well as a very public love for the fantastical space franchise. Besides working on the original trilogy back in the ‘80s, he returned to a galaxy far, far away, appearing in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The 2017 movie, while impressing critics, received a mixed reception from the general public. Currently, the movie holds an audience score of 42% on Rotten Tomatoes. However, Oz remains a massive fan of the fantasy movie.
During a panel at South by Southwest in 2019, he defended the film saying, “I love [The Last Jedi]. All the people who don’t like this Jedi thing is just horse crap. It’s about expectations. The movie didn’t fill their expectations. But as filmmakers, we’re not here to fulfil people’s expectations.”
There currently aren’t any Yoda projects in the works, and Grogu, better known as Baby Yoda, left The Mandalorian at the end of the second season. Alas, we only hope for a return in The Mandalorian season 3.