Do you want a Yoda movie? Tough, because we're probably getting a Star Wars Story centered on the sage Muppet Jedi Master whether you like it or not.
Lucasfilm has been incredibly coy about its plans post-Episode IX (a mixture of wanting to make the final part of the sequel trilogy feel like an event and needing to regroup after the previous standalones all met with director problems) but that doesn't mean the future isn't seriously on Kathleen Kennedy and co's mind. It's recently been revealed that the long-awaited Obi-Wan solo film is finally making its first steps towards development, with Billy Elliot's Stephan Daldry in talks to direct, and within that breaking report it was said the company is still seriously looking at doing similar standalones for Boba Fett and Yoda.
Now the first two make some sense. Being one of the biggest periods of unexplored pre-original trilogy history, fans have been clamoring for a Kenobi film detailing the exiled master's time on Tatooine since the anthology enterprise was first mooted, something that's only been emboldened by Ewan McGregor's repeated interest (and his absence from Celebration and D-23). And Boba is the ultimate fan favourite, so much so a bounty hunter movie featuring him almost had a sizzle reel released before director Josh Trank flamed off the project.
But Yoda? Who seriously wants that?
Now we should immediately state that a Yoda film (along with Boba) was one of the very first solo movies mooted after Disney's Star Wars acquisition, so there's a possibility that - in the spirit of the internet's love of repeating a single rumor to the point it gets taken as fact - this is actually a five-year-old story being requoted. However, it would be odd for a trade (THR broke the story) to make such a key statement in such a way so it's fair to take as believable. In an intriguing quirk, if true it would mean the first four standalones are likely to be those initially suggested - in terms of verifiable rumors, the only movies we've got wind about are Han Solo, Boba, Yoda and a Death Star plans stealing adventure (released as Rogue One).
Back when Yoda was first mooted, we could brush it off as an easy target for a studio in flux and fans not clear on the future. Now, though, two movies down and with three impending, it feels more tangible. And only a worse idea.
It Will Destroy Yoda As A Character
We could build to this point but it's frankly the core of the argument so let's get it out up front: Yoda is mysterious. Where does he come from? How did he I become so stoic? What species is he? Nobody knows (in fact, Lucas even said he never planned to reveal the latter). When we first meet him in Empire it was as a cooky frog creature and even once his "great warrior" nature is revealed his past remains untold - he trained Jedi for 800, that's it. The prequels definitely showed more of him, but they still had him enter as the same noble Jedi and leader of the Order, unequivocally the most powerful Force user around (definitely with the highest registered midi-chlorian count besides Anakin).
The only hint at any greater history came vicariously through Yaddle, a female member of his species present on the Jedi Council in The Phantom Menace - and she was swiftly removed in the later two prequels. That may have been a simple effects budget choice (Yoda became CGI in Attack of the Clones, a complex move that would be trickier with double the characters) but it also seemed a move to return to his mysterious past.
And, you know what, that only helps his character. He's not just the mage and mentor rolled into one - that's Obi-Wan - he's the mage and mentor's mage and mentor (cubed now we're in the sequels with Rey and Luke). Yoda is the closest to a physical embodiment of the Force you can get without moving into literalism.
Make no mistake either, that is his core appeal. Any movie centered on him inherently risks undermining that, and when we're dealing with a multi-media brand, that's character damaging.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019