Star Wars news has been releasing faster than Han Solo can cover 12 Parsecs, ever since new Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy convinced J.J. Abrams to direct Episode VII and help with ushering in a new era for the mythological sci-fi franchise (now that George Lucas has passed the reins on to another generation of filmmakers).

The big announcements this week have concerned possible standalone movies (or, rather, character-oriented spinoffs), in addition to the central Episodes. Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed such projects are developing – with Episode VII consulting screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) working on the scripts – and rumored subjects include young Han Solo, Boba Fett and Jedi Master Yoda.

Tom Kane currently voices the character on the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series, but Muppet and Sesame Street puppeteer icon Frank Oz handled his vocals in the previous five live-action installments featuring the small, but wise and deadly, warrior. Oz informed Hero Complex that he is prepared to return to the role in the potential spinoff film, saying “He’s in my heart, I know Yoda very deeply.” However, he does not expect to bring Yoda back to his animatronic roots, after the leap to being a digitally-rendered player in the second and third prequel trilogy installments.

“I think it depends on the story, but I think at this point you can’t go back to the puppet,” he said. “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.”

It’s worth noting Oz’s interest in revisiting the Yoda character in a new Star Wars movie, seeing how he earned a fair amount of attention for declining the chance to participate in Disney’s The Muppets after citing issues with the script (for more, check out this Metro interview from September 2011). However, Oz has always maintained that he was satisfied with how Yoda was portrayed throughout the prequels and insisted that “As long as the character is believable, alive and pure, I’m happy.”

Oz isn’t the only Star Wars alum to express an interest in participating in the next generation of live-action installments, with Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu in the prequel trilogy) as well as original trilogy leads Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford all indicating they’re game. Indeed, the developing Episode VII screenplay from Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) is rumored to include age-appropriate versions of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo custom-made for the famous actor trio.

Similarly, a Yoda spinoff could allow for Jackson to reprise as Windu, possibly in a variation on the Seven Samurai-style Jedi movie that filmmaker Zack Snyder (300Man of Steel) is heavily-rumored to have discussed with Lucasfilm reps. Of course, there are multiple other directions such a project could take, seeing how the character has some 800-900 years of backstory that remains unexplored (in the live-action Star Wars-verse, anyway).

Star Wars: Episode VII remains (officially) on-course for a 2015 release, despite reports that Abrams isn’t committed to that date.

Source: LA Times