Welcome back to Star Wars Character Corner! For the Star Wars blog this week, we’ll again be taking a deep look at a classic character, learning about the character’s life and background. This week, it’s the diminutive Jedi Master, Yoda!
Much of Yoda’s early life is shrouded in mystery. His species, as well as the planet he was born on, is unknown. His force-sensitivity was discovered by the Jedi N’Kata Del Gormo, who took Yoda as his apprentice and trained him. Yoda would later travel to Coruscant to become a true Jedi Knight.
When Yoda was 96, he became a Jedi Master. Eight hundred years before the battle of Yavin (I.E. Episode IV) he began training his first padawan. The many hundreds of years of Yoda’s activity in the Jedi are filled with stories of battles, dozens of padawans that would go on to become masters, and moments of great wisdom on the Council.
One of the Jedi Yoda helped train was a human noble from the planet Serenno named Dooku. He assisted in instructing the Jedi in lightsaber combat, and Dooku would go on to become one of the best duelists in the order. Count Dooku, as he would be known, eventually fell to the dark side, becoming the Sith Lord Darth Tyranus.
By the time of the events of Episode I (thirty two years before the battle of Yavin), Yoda was the Grand Master of the Jedi and head of the High Council. He was revered as a knowledgeable master, who was wise in the ways of the force, slow to anger, and well-liked. One of his primary duties was to instruct trainee Jedi – younglings – in the ways of the force.
Yoda’s involvement in Episode I was minimal, though important. When Qui-Gon Jinn brought the newly-freed Anakin Skywalker to Coruscant, with the request to train him, it was at Yoda’s urging that the council denied the request, stating that the boy’s future was clouded, and he was dangerous. He eventually allowed Anakin to be trained, though he vocally expressed his disapproval. This disapproval would later make Anakin believe the council didn’t trust him, and push him toward the dark side of the force.
In Episode II, Yoda was one of the many Jedi that landed on Geonosis with the Clone army, effectively starting the Clone Wars. Yoda chased Count Dooku, Anakin, and Obi-Wan
Kenobi, dueling Count Dooku after the defeat of the two Jedi. Yoda failed to capture Dooku, but saved the lives of Anakin and Obi-Wan. During the Clone Wars, Yoda was actively fighting and ruling the Jedi, serving as a Jedi general with his own squad of clone troopers.
In Episode III, Yoda traveled to Kashyyyk, the planet of the Wookies, to help defend them from the droid army. It was during this time that Order 66 was carried out, and Yoda survived an assassination attempt. He then traveled back to Coruscant, fighting the Sith Lord Sidious in the Galactic Senate chamber. Sidious would escape, and Yoda went into exile on the planet Dagobah.
It was twenty-three years until Luke Skywalker found Yoda on Dagobah during Episode V. Luke trained with the Jedi Master for some time, until Luke left to battle his father in Cloud City. Luke would return, just before Yoda’s death, during Episode VI, only to be told that was truly a Jedi.
Yoda died at the approximate age of nine hundred, after training hundreds of Jedi and keeping the Jedi order alive long enough to train Luke Skywalker, the next person to become the Jedi’s Grand Master.
Behind the scenes:
In the original trilogy, Yoda was a puppet performed and voiced by Frank Oz. He was also a puppet in Episode I, but with some effects down with CGI. In episodes II and III, Yoda was completely CGI.
The character was originally going to be a blue, almost smurf-like being, in addition to being very small. The name ‘Yoda’ could be derived from the Sanskrit word for warrior (Yoddha), or the Hebrew “Yodea,” meaning “He knows,” or “One who knows.” It could also be from the teaching of Yoga, something which almost certainly inspired the force. Yoda is also a Japanese name.
There you have it: an overview of one of the most famous and oldest Jedi to ever live. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this amazing character. We’ll continue to run the Star Wars Character Corner every few weeks, so come back soon for more information!