Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought back a number of characters from the original trilogy, and not just those who survived to the end of Return of the Jedi. During Rey’s Force vision in Episode VII, the voices of Luke Skywalker’s former teachers, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, are heard – with the former even addressing the young heroine directly (telling her “these are your first steps”). Using the old Jedi Masters in the new film was part of Lucasfilm’s plan for a while, as Frank Oz even came in one day to “do a bunch of Yoda,” though none of that was used in the final product.
While Obi-Wan and Yoda had a minimal presence in Force Awakens, all signs are pointing to them having a more significant role in Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII. Rumors have suggested Ewan McGregor is going to play an Obi-Wan Force ghost in the movie, and recent reports indicate that Oz traveled to England (where Star Wars 8 is filming) for work purposes. Those hoping to see more Yoda on the big screen will enjoy the latest development, which has Oz recording audio for Episode VIII.
The news comes courtesy of Indie Revolver, who say that the legendary performer has started to record new voiceover material for the upcoming sequel. At the time, it is unknown if Oz’s contributions will go beyond vocals. Their source suggests that Oz “is not on hand for anything visual,” raising questions about how Yoda would appear in Star Wars 8 (should he make the final cut). Many fans would probably prefer the classic puppet to the CGI version used in the prequels.
If Oz is only around for voiceover, it would appear that the green alien would be brought to life via digital technology (like Supreme Leader Snoke and Maz Kanata). However, there’s still a chance Yoda is done practically in Episode VIII. The extensive recreation of the planet Ahch-To done at Pinewood Studios has allegedly been built to accommodate a puppet (similar to the Dagobah sets for Empire Strikes Back), meaning Johnson could be incorporating some old school techniques for a Yoda cameo. As for why Oz wouldn’t be operating the puppet, it’s possible the 71-year old would rather leave that task to someone younger and simply provide guidance to a different puppeteer. For what it’s worth, Indie Revolver is also reporting that a Yoda puppet was constructed for The Force Awakens so it was available if J.J. Abrams wanted to use it.
With all that Lucasfilm had to unpack in Star Wars 7, it made sense that Obi-Wan and Yoda did not have a physical presence in the film. Now that the table’s been set and Luke is set to have a far more substantial part in Episode VIII, an appearance from one (or both) would be more natural. Given what happened with Ben Solo, Luke could initially be reluctant to take Rey on as a new apprentice, leading him to seek counsel in his old companions who have taught him so much. While it’s unlikely Kenobi and/or Yoda would be main characters in the film, moviegoers would enjoy seeing them show up for a brief scene or two, especially if it was a crucial moment for Luke’s arc in the narrative. Seeing those three interact at this point in time could be very interesting.
The prospect of Yoda returning to the Star Wars saga is a tantalizing one, but fans should still take the new information with a grain of salt. Though Episode VIII is halfway through production, there could be things that haven’t been finalized yet, meaning a Yoda cameo is an idea Johnson is merely toying with. Much like Darth Vader’s possible role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, there’s enough evidence available to support the “Yoda in Star Wars 8” rumor, but nothing’s been confirmed. Always in motion is the future, and fans will probably have to wait until December 2017 to learn the truth.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Indie Revolver