The Star Wars franchise has enjoyed decades of popularity and critical acclaim for its visuals and storytelling, but the galaxy far, far away truly wouldn’t be complete without its vivid and iconic characters. Whether it's Luke, Leia, and Han from the original trilogy or Rey, Finn, and Poe from the sequels, the creative team at Lucasfilm has crafted characters that have proven to be unforgettable.
One of the most recognizable characters has got to be Yoda; the diminutive, green, centuries-old Jedi Master who spouts wisdom left and right. While casual viewers might not be able to name Willrow Hood and his heroic ice cream maker, or Sosha Soruna with her royal piloting skills, pretty much everyone is able to identify Yoda. He isn’t just famous in our universe—he’s a big name in the world of Star Wars, too. He first appears in Empire Strikes Back when Luke ventures to Dagobah in search of formal training in the ways of the Force. Luke expects a grand, imposing figure, but is met with a two-foot tall creature who seems to talk absolute nonsense.
Soon enough, Luke realizes that this old man is none other than the legendary Yoda himself. Just moments into training, Luke finds himself frustrated with Yoda’s ways, and rightfully so. In fact, Yoda’s weirdly opaque teaching method is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things he’s done wrong. The list below includes content from the canonical movies and TV series, as well as the Expanded Universe/Legends.
Here are 20 Things Wrong With Yoda We All Choose To Ignore.
20 He's Not A Good Teacher
Yoda isn’t the shining beacon of education everyone makes him out to be. In fact, he’s far from it. Sure, he’s powerful and skilled in the ways of the Force, but that doesn’t make him a good teacher.
He fails to set clear criteria and goals when he trains Luke on Dagobah, which makes Luke justifiably frustrated. Yoda just chills as he’s taken on a piggy-back ride, and gives vague instructions like “use the Force.” Yoda’s not the first educator to endorse the mysterious and authoritative Do-It-Because-I-Said-So method, but after several hundred years of teaching, you’d think he’d understand that allowing students to question him is a vital learning process.
19 He Lets Youngling Runs Around With Lightsabers
Yet another part of Yoda’s alarming Jedi pedagogy is that he lets younglings run around with lightsabers. These are prepubescent kids who look like they’re about to topple over because of the giant helmets they have on. Sure, it’s probably an established method of training devised by the Jedi Council that has endured throughout the centuries, but just because it’s an old tradition doesn’t mean it’s good or effective.
It’s truly a wonder that more younglings don’t lose limbs during the training process. Even if they did, Yoda would probably insist that it’s part of the way of the Jedi. It looks like Obi-Wan’s questionable training methods— like handing Luke a laser sword and letting him put it right up to his face— came from Yoda.
18 He Runs Off Into Self-Imposed Exile
When Yoda faces off with Darth Sidious in Revenge of the Sith, it seems like withholding Yoda’s full combat skills is finally going to pay off. To top it all off, the fight starts with Yoda pledging to fight for the Jedi's existence, so you think you’re in for an exciting duel.
The fight looks evenly matched for the most part, but when Yoda falls to the bottom of the senate chamber, he decides that he’s been bested and runs off into exile. Instead of staying and helping folks like the Organas resist the growing Empire, Yoda escapes to live like a hermit in a swamp. To quote Yoda himself, “If so powerful you are, why leave?”
17 He Puts Luke On Tatooine
A lot of baffling things happen in the prequel trilogy. Padmé somehow falls in love with Anakin. A whole clone army gets created without anyone noticing. But a strong contender for the most nonsensical choice is Yoda sticking Luke on Tatooine-- the very same desert planet that Anakin had lived on for his entire childhood.
Having Luke and Anakin share the same homeworld is undoubtedly an attempt at creating another parallel between father and son. Perhaps Yoda is betting on Anakin being so scarred by his time on Tatooine that he’d never set foot on the planet again. Still, Darth Vader could’ve easily sent his minions to hunt down Luke on Tatooine, and it’s hard to believe Luke manages to evade detection.
16 He Keeps Luke's Parentage From Him
As Darth Vader’s secret son, Luke’s got a lot weighing on his shoulders. He’s the son of one of the most powerful Jedi ever known, who became one of the most dangerous Sith lords in the galaxy. It’s understandable that folks would want to shield Luke from such a wicked legacy at a young age, but it doesn’t make sense for everyone to keep talking as if Anakin and Vader are two different people.
Yoda and Obi-Wan both have more than enough opportunities to tell Luke about his true parentage, and surely they must’ve known that he’d find out eventually. Yet they insist on keeping their mouths shut, resulting in poor Luke getting the shock of his life just moments after losing a hand.
15 He Sounds Faux-Profound
Silence may not always be golden, but it might be preferable compared to Yoda’s opaque and at times completely nonsensical musings. Yoda says things that sound particularly profound thanks to his unique grammar, and his lack of elaboration makes his teaching sound deep. However, if you think about it, a good portion of his most iconic quotes sound more like fortune cookies than actual usable teachings.
Take for example “Do, or do not. There is no try.” First of all, that makes absolutely no sense. Everything starts out as an attempt, whether it ends in success or not. Second, Yoda dismisses the value of hard work and trying against all odds, instilling a black-and-white thinking that is far from realistic.
14 He Ignores Anakin's Trauma
Another one of Yoda’s most memorable quotes has got to be his quip about fear and anger when talking to young Anakin in The Phantom Menace. When Anakin asks why the Jedi Council is inquiring after his emotions, Yoda responds, “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate.”
That’s a swell thing to say to a traumatized child who misses his mother. Anakin’s been enslaved for all his young life, and even though he’s escaped from Tatooine, his mother Shmi is still there. Of course he’d be scared and even angry. Instead of addressing Anakin’s legitimate reactions, Yoda tells a little boy his feelings will make him a bad guy.
13 He Mindlessly Follows The Jedi Code
The Jedi Code has been instrumental in the survival of the Jedi Order, setting the ground rules for all of its members, from the eldest of Jedi Masters to the newest younglings. The Code has a plethora of rules that govern everything from the number of Padawans a Jedi is allowed to mentor to prohibiting Jedi from seeking revenge. The most notable rule is probably that Jedi are forbidden from forming emotional attachments like familial and romantic love.
Yoda is adamant about following every regulation, and is especially concerned about Anakin’s tendency to form emotional bonds with people around him. Yoda’s lack of flexibility prevents him from seeing the power and value of emotional attachments, and from effectively helping Anakin with his emotional issues.
12 He Doesn't Understand Human Psychology-- Or He Ignores It
Yoda belongs to an unknown alien species whose only other known member is Yaddle. The species has a life expectancy of several centuries, and Yoda himself is 900 years old when he passes away in Empire Strikes Back. Maybe it’s the discrepancy between his species and humans that leads to his poor grasp of human psychology.
According to Dr. Nakia Gordon, Yoda doesn’t have the most psychologically sound advice. He chastises Luke for being reckless, claiming that the Jedi don’t seek out adventure and excitement. However, humans are hardwired to look for excitement and exploration, and without this innate sense of exploration, humans wouldn’t advance as a species. It could also be that Yoda knows this, but expects human Jedi to resist their nature.
11 He Assigns Anakin To Protect Padmé
Another glaring plot hole in the prequel movies is how none of the Jedi realize that Padmé and Anakin are falling in love. Yoda, revered Jedi Master that he is, sends Anakin to protect Padmé in Attack of the Clones while he is still technically a Padawan. There’s even a deleted scene in which Obi-Wan tells Mace Windu about his concerns regarding Anakin’s assignment. Obi-Wan worries that Anakin’s grown arrogant, and that his emotional attachment to Padmé would jeopardize his mission.
Apparently Yoda isn’t worried about that at all, and the Council sends Anakin on a solo mission. Of course, Padmé and Anakin’s romance is full of weird dynamics and cringe-worthy dialogue, so maybe that’s why Yoda doesn’t realize they’re in love.
10 He Senses Anakin's Pain, And Doesn't Do Anything About It
Anakin goes through a lot in his young life. He’s enslaved on Tatooine with his mother, and then taken by the Jedi to train as a Padawan, leaving Shmi behind. When he goes back to his homeworld in Attack of the Clones, Anakin finds that his mother has passed away and attacks the Tusken Raiders in revenge.
After the incident, Yoda senses Anakin’s immense pain as he’s meditating, so what does he do? Absolutely nothing-- or at least, nothing helpful that would alleviate Anakin’s emotional burden. An in-universe explanation states that the growing dark side starts to cloud the Jedi Council’s judgment, but Yoda literally tells Windu what he senses in Anakin, yet fails to help him.
9 He Considers Wiping An Innocent Man's Memories
During Yoda’s time on Dagobah, Major Arhul Hextrophon finds out where Yoda’s gone. Hextrophon is a historian from the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and can also be seen standing behind Leia during the medal ceremony at the end of A New Hope.
Hextrophon travels to Dagobah in the hopes of finding the Jedi Master, and Yoda seriously considers wiping his mind. His reasoning? It’s not the Jedi way to cause pain-- never mind that his neglect of Anakin caused a whole load of problems.) Yoda changes his mind and simply makes the historian swear to keep his existence a secret, but the fact that he even entertained the idea of invading and altering an innocent man’s mind is alarming.
8 He Steals Food From Luke
Luke’s initial meeting with Yoda is comical. The young Jedi expects to find an intimidating Jedi Master to guide him as he learns the ways of the Force, but instead, he finds a little green frog-like creature with an odd screechy voice and warped sense of humor. It makes for a great reveal when Luke finally realizes the weird alien is none other than Yoda, but let’s not forget that Yoda literally steals food from Luke and goes through his belongings.
When R2-D2 tries to take back Luke’s light, Yoda whacks the poor little droid with his walking stick, all the while claiming that the device is now his. We’re pretty sure stealing isn’t permissible according to the Jedi Code.
7 He Doesn't Realize Anakin's At Breaking Point
As viewers, it clear to us that Anakin’s reached his breaking point in Revenge of the Sith-- and it’s not just because of the Imperial March playing in the background or the knowledge of his inevitable transformation into Darth Vader. You don’t exactly need the Force to see how the young man is struggling with his grief and his fear of losing Padmé.
For some bizarre reason, Yoda— along with the rest of the Jedi Council— doesn’t seem to register Anakin’s descent into the dark side, even though he’s been concerned about Anakin’s stability from the start. Anakin even seeks counsel from Yoda about his nightmares, but Yoda’s response is to just let it go. Had Yoda been better at handling Anakin’s emotions, a lot of pain could have been prevented.
6 He Doesn't Return To Help The Wookiees
Yoda’s self-imposed exile on Dagobah sounds even more selfish when you consider that, according to Legends, he survives Order 66 with the help of the Wookiees Chewbacca and Tarfful. He even boasts about how good his relationship with Wookiees are before going off to Kashyyyk in the first place.
Sure, he does volunteer to defend Kashyyyk against the Droid Army, but he never comes back to help the Wookiees fight against the Empire and its attempts to enslave them. Even after the Empire legalized slavery, Yoda doesn’t try to repay the Wookiees for their kindness by aiding in their fight for freedom. Han Solo might’ve been motivated by self-preservation, but at least he gets Chewie out of his pit.
5 He Doesn't Help The Starving People Of Sluis Van
The story of how Yoda gets to Dagobah also raises a few eyebrows, or at least, the Expanded Universe version of it does. Yoda hitches a ride on a Polis Massa-registered freighter transporting grain to Sluis Van. Sluis Van is an ex-Separatist planet that needs external aid to feed its starving population. The freighter drops out of hyperspace near Dagobah, and Yoda leaves the ship via escape pod, landing on the swamp planet to live out the rest of the life.
That’s right, Yoda is en route to a starving planet, but takes an escape pod to preserve himself instead of opting to help out with the famine relief efforts on Sluis Van, which seems contrary to the Jedi way.
4 He Assigns Ahsoka To Anakin
In The Clone Wars animated movie, Obi-Wan anticipates a new Padawan, which Anakin thinks is silly because they’re on the front lines of a war zone. In the end, Anakin has a change of heart, and readily accepts Ahsoka Tano as his new Padawan. However, Yoda assigns Ahsoka to Anakin because he thinks having an apprentice would help Anakin learn to let go of emotional attachments. His reasons that since Ahsoka would have to graduate from the rank of Padawan eventually, Anakin would mature enough to accept the inevitability of her departure from his life.
Introducing yet another person to Anakin that he could get attached to is hardly the best way to teach him to let go. Plus, Yoda’s plan eventually backfired partially because of his lack of judgment.
3 He Kicks Ahsoka Out Of The Jedi Order
In one of the most bittersweet arcs in the franchise, Ahsoka is promptly kicked out of the Jedi Order when she’s suspected of bombing the Jedi Temple. It turns out she’s been framed by fellow Padawan and her own friend Barriss Offee, who had grown jaded and disillusioned by the Order’s inaction.
Ahsoka does receive a trial of sorts, but the evidence against her is far from conclusive. Yoda is even aware that his judgment has been clouded, but nonetheless, he and the Council decide to expel Ahsoka and leave her hanging. Even after Ahsoka is exonerated, she too has grown disillusioned, seeing the corruption the Order is capable of, and chooses to leave everything she’s ever known in search of another path to justice.
2 He Overrules Mace Windu's Common Sense
At this point, it’s clear that the members of the Jedi Council have questionable judgment, to say the least. It seems like the only reasonable person is Mace Windu, which is probably why he’s the one Anakin confides in when he suspects Palpatine of being a Sith Lord. Windu begins to suspect Senator Palpatine’s motivations and even finds evidence of his wicked plot.
Windu wants to tell the Republic about Palpatine’s schemes, but Yoda, being the great rational leader that he is, overrules him. As Palpatine says to Yoda in Revenge of the Sith, “Your arrogance blinds you.” Even though he’s a Sith lord who’s done wicked things, Palpatine does have a point there.
1 He Lets Obi-Wan Train Anakin Anyway
Yoda has a bad feeling about Anakin pretty much as soon as he meets the young boy in The Phantom Menace. The Jedi Master thinks he’s too old to begin training as a Padawan, and lacks the emotional stability to undergo intensive training. He goes against his judgment, and the Jedi Council eventually agree to allow Obi-Wan to train Anakin.
If Yoda takes issue with Anakin’s emotions from the get go, why doesn’t he take care to address them earlier, instead of allowing the problem to fester even further? He clearly holds sway over the Council, so why allow the Council to approve Anakin as a Padawan? Yoda’s role as a leader and educator truly leaves a lot to be desired.
What are some other issues with Yoda in Star Wars? Tell us in the comments!