Yoda belongs right up there with Dumbledore and Gandalf in the pantheon of eccentric-but-great mentor figures in popular culture. In the Star Wars movies and the Lengeds Canon, Yoda was the head of the Jedi Council for hundreds of years. In his final years in exile from the Empire, he imparted crucial lessons about the Force that would let Luke Skywalker triumph over the Emperor.
But Yoda is far from perfect. In fact, there are a lot of things Yoda did that don’t make much sense when you step back and look at his actions and his character. There’s also a few silly moments that – more just occupational hazards of being a famous character from a mega franchise like Star Wars.
For this list we’re taking a look at some of the most confounding, callous, and ridiculous things this little green gremlin has done. Here are The 15 Most WTF Things Yoda Has Ever Done.
15. DITCHING CHEWBACCA ON KASHYYYK
The prequels created a number of relationships between characters who previously had never interacted; Anakin and C-3PO, for example, the droid he built himself but ignored when he met later. Yoda, too, was given a new relationship with a character he never ended up meeting in the Original Trilogy.
In the final days of the Clone Wars, Yoda got along so well with the wookiees that he personally led a detachment of the clone army to Kashyyyk. He befriended a young Chewbacca, and the two fought alongside one another in order to liberate Kashyyyk. When Order 66 was given, the grateful wookiees helped Yoda avoid being executed by the clone troopers like his Jedi peers.
After that, Yoda literally just up and leaves after that in a personal pod, saying goodbye to Chewbacca. Sure Yoda had the pretty urgent business of trying to save the Republic and the Jedi, but didn’t he know that the fledgling Empire would conquer and enslave the wookiees? That is exactly what happened to Chewbacca, after all.
14. TELLING ANAKIN TO LET GO OF LOST LOVED ONES.
The Jedi Council tested Anakin Skywalker when he first came to Coruscant. They decided that he was already too old and too emotional to be trained as a Jedi; then, they just let Obi-wan train Anakin, despite Obi-wan being only a recent knight and already having some doubts and resentment about Anakin.
Fast forward 10 years and Anakin is having exactly the kinds of problems as a Jedi Yoda and the council foresaw. He’s arrogant, emotionally temperamental and stewing over his insecurity that he can’t protect those he loves. In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin dares to talk about his secret love with Padme and the visions of her death with Yoda, out of context.
Yoda is supposed to be pretty wise. His clinical treatment of Anakin’s emotional turmoil, basically telling him “loved ones die, deal with it,” was irresponsible. If the Jedi were concerned about Anakin’s emotions but still took him on, then they should have paid more attention to him, and taken extra measures to help Anakin stay balanced.
13. NOT TELLING LUKE THE TRUTH ABOUT DARTH VADER
Yoda could have told Luke the truth about Vader at any time. Obviously, the reason the original trilogy was written this way was so that we could get what proved to be one of the most famous lines and most famous reveals in movie history. But from a plot perspective, Yoda keeping the true identity of Darth Vader secret from Luke didn’t make much sense.
Wouldn’t it be advantageous to Luke to understand his foe better? When Luke first faced Vader he was taken totally off guard by Vader’s revelation. If Yoda and Obi-wan had told Luke the truth about Darth Vader, Vader wouldn’t have been able to pull the rug out from under Luke’s feet, making him doubt his mentors.
There’s even the famous deleted scene that makes Yoda even more dubious and complicit. Apparently Obi-wan wanted to tell Luke the truth, but Yoda forbade him. It really makes Yoda come across as even less empathetic to the emotional wellbeing of his students, too focused on the mission of defeating the Empire.
12. LETTING LITTLE CHILDREN CARRY LIGHTSABERS.
Yoda was the head of the Jedi Council for hundreds of years and we know that he always paid special attention to how the Jedi Order taught its members. Presumably that means that Yoda had something to do with all the pretty irresponsible stuff we saw and learned about Jedi younglings and padawans. Remember the scene in Attack of the Clones when Obi-wan goes to visit Yoda during a lesson with the younglings? Remember what they were doing?
Yoda had at least a dozen little kids, none older than 10 by the looks of them, practicing deflecting blaster shots, with real lightsabers and shields over their eyes. And these kids were standing not all that far apart from each other. One over compensated swing and the youngling next to little Jimmy and his plasma glowstick would be cut in half. Either each of these kids in this scene were the most disciplined children that ever lived or they were all incredibly lucky.
11. WHY DOES YODA TALK THE WAY HE DOES?
Unique it is. Mimic it you do, whenever an attempt at a Yoda impression you make.
In linguistic typography, there is actually a proper way to describe Yoda’s style of speech syntax which is ‘verb-object-subject’ or VOS. “Found-someone-you have.” Conventional English uses subject-verb-object syntax, “You have-found-someone.” Very few known languages in the world use verb-object-subject. They are found in some Austronesian languages like Malagasy, Old Javanese, Toba Batak and Fijian and Mayan languages like Tzotzil.
The funny thing about Yoda is that he doesn’t always talk like this. He speaks in the English (or basic) language and frequently uses VOS phrasing along with other forms even within the same sentence. “Go to the center of gravity’s pull, and find your planet you will.” Is he keeping some linguistic holdovers from his species’ native language? Why does he employ the VOS phrasing for some lines and not others? We never find out.
10. WHY HIDE ON DAGOBAH?
Yoda and Obi-wan were presumably the last surviving members of the Jedi Order, at least as far as the movies were concerned. Obi-wan’s time between the two intervening trilogies was at least arguably well spent watching over Luke, eventually presenting himself to guide Luke towards joining the Rebellion and becoming a Jedi.
But what did Yoda do in all that time? Hide in a hovel in a swamp on some backwater swamp planet? Let the Emperor impose a dictatorship on the galaxy while other aliens and more Force sensitives were exterminated? Was there absolutely no way that Yoda could have helped the rebellion or helped gather and protect other Force sensitives while still keeping himself hidden? What was he accomplishing or doing at all while he waited for Obi-wan to guide Luke Skywalker to his hideaway? What was so special about Dagobah, out of surely thousands of inhospitable, out of the way planets that Yoda could have hidden on? Surely there might have been someplace just as remote but more comfortable.
9. CATCHING AND REPELLING FORCE LIGHTNING
The first time Star Wars fans had ever seen a character strong in the Force wield lightning from their fingertips was the Emperor in Return of the Jedi. In that first moment it was a truly awesome, terrifying power, devastating and mysterious.
For a long time, Force lightning enjoyed a bit of a status as a pinnacle of power in the Dark Side of the Force, at least for most fans. The next time we saw it in the movies was when Count Dooku tries to use it on Yoda at the end of Attack of the Clones. Much to Dooku’s and the audience’s surprise, Yoda is not only able to stop the lightning attack, he’s able to catch it and hurl the bolt back at Dooku. When Dooku strikes again with lightning Yoda catches the bolt again and then seems to quell the powerful energy within his claws. In a fight made out of Force one-ups-man-ship, this new demonstration of Yoda’s power was very impressive and unexpected.
8. RAPPING ON A REVENGE OF THE SITH DVD EASTER EGG
In the early and mid-2000s, when the Prequels were first coming out on DVD, they were pretty loaded with extras. The home video sets included behind the scenes featurettes, art galleries, audio commentaries, interviews with the cast and crew and some Easter eggs.
On each of the prequel DVDs, if you entered 1138 on your remote while hovering your DVD selection over the THX symbol, you would find the Easter egg. The Attack of the Clones DVD includes some pretty hilarious – or cringe-inducing – blooper reels.
But the Revenge of the Sith DVD has something even more bizarre. If you follow the same procedure, you’ll find a video of Yoda rapping and breakdancing to The Roots’ “Don’t Say Nuthin.” He’s even accompanied by a small posse of late-Republic era clone troopers who stand in the background tapping and bobbing their heads to the beat. After a minute of the little skit, Yoda sinks to his backside and croaks, “That voice, hard on my throat it is.”
7. HOW MANY TOES DOES YODA HAVE?
You might think that this anatomic detail about Yoda’s appearance would be written or drawn somewhere official so that all the movies and shows authorized by Lucasfilm or Disney wouldn’t have any inconsistencies about it, right?
There weren’t just discrepancies about this between the films and other less visible Star Wars media like the Clone Wars cartoons. Even within the main films, differences can be seen in the shape of Yoda’s feet and the number of toes he has. In Phantom Menace, the puppet they use for Yoda in the theatrical version only has three toes. Yet in Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Yoda has four toes. The only saving grace to this apparent error is that it seems to have a chronological pattern, so some fans have surmised that growing a fourth toe late in their life cycle is part of Yoda’s species.
6. ACTING LIKE A PEST WHEN LUKE FIRST MEETS HIM.
Obi-wan doesn’t exactly tell Luke much about Yoda. All he says is that Luke will go to the Degobah system and learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed Obi-wan. So Luke, who has only known Obi-wan, wouldn’t be blamed for guessing that Yoda must be this even more mystical, even more powerful being. We don’t quite know where Luke got the idea of Yoda as a “great warrior.”
But what did he get when he met Yoda? This runty, rasping ransacking rodent who steals his food, tosses his supply crate and wails on R2, whom he should also recognize, by the way, when the droid tries to take Luke’s torch back. Luke was under the impression that he was supposed to continue his Jedi training so that he can save the galaxy. Instead he gets invited to dinner in a swamp.
5. TELLING LUKE HE HAS TO KILL HIS FATHER
This seems to be a flaw in the Jedis’ thinking throughout the movies. They’re not very big on redemption despite being the nominally more enlightened order of Force sensitives. Yoda seems pretty dismissive of Count Dooku once the Clone Wars break out. Also when they first discover that Anakin led the attack on the Jedi Temple, he orders Obi-wan to murder his friend and apprentice.
Granted, in both cases, the evidence of Dooku’s and Vader’s complicities kept mounting. But it would seem that Yoda never even entertained the notion that Anakin could be redeemed, not even if he once believed him to be the Chosen One.
Luke may have just been making his case for saving Anakin based on naïve sentimentality, but he still had a point. He felt that Anakin was still conflicted about his actions on some level. He saw that Anakin tried to spare Luke from death at the Emperor’s bidding. Yoda and Obi-wan never even bothered to acknowledge that Luke having to kill his own father was an agonizing mission.
4. KEEPING LUKE’S SISTER A SECRET UNTIL HIS DEATHBED.
On the surface, there is some logic to Yoda and Obi-wan’s move to keep Luke and Leia separated and ignorant of each other. If Luke and or Leia were the only hope for the Jedi to overthrow the Empire, there was certainly an argument to be made for not keeping both their eggs in one basket. Presumably Yoda and Obi-wan would have trusted in the Force and their own influence to eventually reveal Anakin’s children to each other and unite them against Vader.
But here’s the thing about the Force, it’s easy to confuse the ‘will’ of the Force, with the ‘will’ of the plot. There are some truly cosmic coincidences at play that made sure Luke got dragged into the rebellion when he did and met just the right people. If it hadn’t been for all that, how could Obi-wan and Yoda possibly have made sure that Luke became a Jedi and pursued the path to challenge his father.
And what about Leia? Was their plan always to reach out to Leia only if Luke failed? Wasn’t she just as deserving and potentially powerful with the Force? It just seems like a lot of pain and confusion could have been spared if Yoda had found a way to unite the Skywalker children earlier without any pretenses.
3. Fighting For The Soul Edge
The Soulcalibur series of fighting games is partially well known for including some pretty high-profile guest characters for different console versions of their games. The Gamecube, Xbox and Playstation 2 versions of Soulcalibur 2 featured Link from Legend of Zelda, Spawn from Image Comics and Heihachi Mishima from the Tekken games.
In Soulcalibur 4, the developers Project Soul got to include two Star Wars characters as guest fighters. Yoda on the Xbox 360 and Darth Vader on the Playstation 3. It was about as ridiculous as you might expect. Yoda sensed a disturbance in the Force. Supposedly the dark, soul consuming power of Soul Edge, all the way from our galaxy far, far away, was enough to motivate Yoda to travel through a portal. Since all the series regulars used conventional weapons not made of plasma blades, some pseudo-magic hand wave made it so that Yoda’s lightsaber wouldn’t cut through all the swords, whips and staffs like they were nothing.
2. LETTING EMPEROR PALPATINE ESCAPE
So this senator from Naboo has pulled the wool over your eyes for decades and has made himself Emperor of the New Galactic Empire. Not to mention personally ordering the pre-planned extermination of the Jedi Order including you. Understandably, Yoda makes a quick attempt to nip this weed in the bud by killing Emperor Palpatine.
It’s a fierce battle of two lightsaber masters and Force adepts. Yoda gets put through his paces in the fight but the flurry of Force attacks separates the opponents. And then Yoda flees.
Why does he do this? Was he truly exhausted to the point of defeat by that point? Especially considering what he does throughout the original trilogy, his retreat doesn’t make much sense. If all he was going to do was hide, do nothing, and hope that someday one of Skywalker’s children would find him, wouldn’t possibly giving his life to kill the Emperor been a more useful sacrifice? Why not take Obi-wan with him to fight the Emperor? They were a pretty formidable team.
1. LIFTING THE X-WING OUT OF THE SWAMP.
So you’re Luke Skywalker, busting your bum at the bidding of this elderly green muppet, barely making any headway at your Force training, and suddenly he asks you to lift your sinking X-wing out of a swamp, with just the Force. Crazy, right?
After all, by that point Luke had barely been exposed to the Force through mostly expository lessons from Obi-wan. He had just barely managed to summon his lightsaber and levitate stones off the ground. The idea of lifting tons of ensnared, soaking metal out of a body of water just by raising your hand must have sounded as crazy to Luke as it did to first time viewers of Empire Strikes Back.
Luke walks away in a huff, but then Yoda closes his eyes and focuses. With the dawning musical swells that John Williams is famous for, Yoda lifts the X-wing out of the water, showing just what the Force is capable of.
“I don’t believe it. (WTF!)”
“That is why you fail.”
Despite his apparent faults, Yoda still deserves his crowning moment of awesome for his number 1 WTF moment.
Were there any other times you found yourself saying “WTF?” over something Yoda did? Let us know in the comments.