WARNING: This post contains POSSIBLE SPOILERS for Star Wars: Episode VIII
As fans celebrate the home media release of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm is hard at work on its upcoming sequel, Star Wars: Episode VIII. Director Rian Johnson has been rolling his cameras for nearly two months, and the ever-active rumor mill is starting to heat up. Laura Dern's mystery character has been the subject of much speculation recently, as has the medical condition of General Leia Organa. Lucasfilm has yet to confirm much about the film, but these topics have fueled a great deal of theorizing as moviegoers try to piece everything together.
With Episode VIII giving Luke Skywalker a considerably larger role than his brief appearance in Force Awakens, some viewers are wondering if he's the only Jedi Master that will be in the saga's next episode. Star Wars 7 included voiceover cameos from Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda during Rey's Force vision, and it was later revealed that at one point, Yoda was meant to be included in an actual scene. As talk about Ewan McGregor returning to the franchise in one way or another continues to pop up, the latest reports indicate Luke's Dagobah teacher could be coming back for Episode VIII.
Making Star Wars has heard that Frank Oz is in the United Kingdom and will be at Pinewood Studios, where Star Wars 8 is filming. The outlet has confirmed that he is in the country to work, meaning it is not simply a personal trip. That Oz is going to physically be on set has led some to believe that he is going to take part in the shooting of some sequences for the movie, though it's difficult to say for sure.
Should Yoda show up in Episode VIII, it will be interesting to see how exactly Johnson brings the green alien to life. Given the new films' incorporation of practical special effects, it's plausible that the filmmakers will bring back the Yoda puppet that was so successful in the original trilogy. Unverified rumors suggest that the recreations of Ahch-To (the planet shown at the end of Force Awakens) at Pinewood are being designed to accommodate a puppet. At the same token, digital imagery was used for new characters Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke, so Oz could be arriving to read Yoda's dialogue with other actors, giving the interactions more of a rhythm and flow.
It's become clear that Lucasfilm is interested in including Force ghosts at some point in the sequel trilogy, even toying with the concept of an Anakin Skywalker spirit torn between the Light and Dark sides for Episode VII. While there ultimately wasn't a natural place for them in The Force Awakens, bringing in some old friends for Star Wars 8 could work very well. With more of a focus on Luke, it makes sense for his wise instructors to lend him guidance. After what happened with Kylo Ren, Luke could be fearful of taking on another apprentice and seek counsel before returning to the fold. As long as a Yoda (or Obi-Wan) cameo serves a distinct purpose in the narrative and isn't just fan service, it would be a welcomed addition to the film.
The prospect of Luke sharing the big screen with Yoda once more is certainly an exciting one, but fans shouldn't get their hopes up just yet. During production on The Force Awakens, Oz came in one day to do "a whole bunch of Yoda," and it obviously didn't make the final cut. As the Jedi would say, always in motion is the future, and until Johnson locks the picture anything is possible. It seems likely Yoda will have some kind of role to play, but for now, take it with a grain of salt.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Making Star Wars
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