The Star Wars universe might not be as big as it once was a few years ago. Thanks to nearly 20 years of continuity being wiped away with the erasure of the Expanded Universe, following Disney’s acquisition of the brand, the backstory of Star Wars' characters, planets and history has shrunk.
However, it’s still rather massive. It’s possible to watch all the movies, obsessively, and still not know everything there is out there about Star Wars.
This is true, even of the franchise's most popular and recognizable characters. Everyone, whether they’re fans of the movies or not, is at least aware of Yoda. The pint-sized green Jedi Master has transcended the franchise and become a pop culture icon. Yet, no matter how famous Yoda might be, there’s still plenty of information out there about him that would surprise most fans.
None of these facts about Yoda completely change his change his character or subvert expectations too much. A few even have very little to do with Yoda’s life and are more about the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to his creation.
These bits of information are more complements to the character as he exists in the movies, rather than full-blown revelations. Still, they do manage to be more than a bit obscure and shocking in their content.
With that said, here are the 15 Mind-Blowing Things Even Die-Hard Fans Didn’t Know About Star Wars' Yoda!
15 He Wasn't Count Dooku's Original Master
Throughout his long life, Yoda trained a ridiculous amount of Jedi. One of the most prominent, as far as the prequels were concerned, was Count Dooku. During their encounter in Attack of the Clones, Yoda refers to Dooku as his old apprentice. While this is true, Yoda wasn’t Dooku’s only Master. At least not in the continuity of Star Wars Legends.
Dooku’s first master was a human Jedi named, Thame Cerulian. Thame wasn’t the best master for Dooku. He abandoned Dooku to go on a lengthy mission, shortly after choosing him as an apprentice. Cerulian was also obsessed with the Dark Side and learned as much as possible to try to defeat it. This could explain, in part, why Dooku eventually fell.
Thame Cerulian was a bit like Dooku’s neglectful dad, while Yoda was the “cool uncle” who actually raised him.
14 He Created The Dark Side Cave on Dagobah
Luke’s encounter in the Dark Side Cave on Dagobah is one of the weirdest moments in the original Star Wars trilogy. It might be one of the strangest incidents in all of the (new) canon. Evidently, though, there’s a well-explained origin for the cave, and it has to do with Yoda himself.
During the Clone Wars, Yoda visited the cave on Dagobah. There he had a vision of the destruction of the Jedi Order and the rise of Darth Sidious, although he didn’t completely understand it at the time. Also, during the vision, Yoda encountered the Dark version of himself. It was a vision of who he could’ve been if he fell to the Dark Side.
This strong moment resonated in The Force for decades. The Dark Side latched to the Cave and grew stronger and stronger in power, until Yoda sent Luke into the Cave during Empire Strikes Back.
13 He Wanted to Train Leia, Not Luke, As a Jedi
Yoda’s training of Luke is one of the more famous mentorships in pop culture. Though an old teacher and young brass student butting heads didn’t originate in Empire Strikes Back, plenty have paid homage to or copied Luke and Yoda’s dynamic. Evidently, though, Yoda didn’t want Luke as his student, but another Skywalker.
Detailed in A Certain Point of View, Yoda felt that Leia, not Luke, was the best hope for salvation against the Empire. After following Luke and Leia’s lives through The Force, Yoda saw Leia as far better prepared to become a Jedi. Luke was too headstrong, willful, and eager, as opposed to Leia, who had been fighting her whole life against the Empire.
As a Force Ghost, Obi-Wan convinced Yoda otherwise. However, considering how the twins turned out in the third trilogy, it’s hard to argue that Yoda wasn’t right.
12 He Once Fought a Living Mountain
Yoda, with his short stature and wizened frame, exemplifies the idea of David and Goliath. It’s obvious that the person who uttered the phrase “Size matters not,” has tremendous power contained in his small frame. Rarely, though, had Yoda fought more than human-sized opponents. In Marvel’s Star Wars comic series, however, things were taken to an extreme.
In the arc, Yoda’s Secret War, Luke discovers a story written in Ben Kenobi’s journal about Yoda. Before the Clone Wars, Yoda found himself drawn to a primitive planet. There he found a tribal people, most of them being children.
The whole adventure is very weird and mixes Children of the Corn with the Fallout series and the Star Wars universe in hodgepodge of strangeness.
However, Yoda discovers that the thing making the tribal kids insane is, in fact, a living mountain. A mountain which Yoda eventually faces and (mostly) defeats.
11 No One Knows His Species
The Star Wars universe is full of hundreds, if not thousands, of fictional species. They all have a name and most have involved backstories and/histories. All except one of them. Yoda’s species is one of the biggest Star Wars mysteries, as next to nothing is known about them. In fact, their official “name,” as it were, is just Yoda’s Species.
Yoda is one of the most recognizable characters in Star Wars. In addition, several members of the species have made it to the rank of Jedi Master, including the hilariously named “female Yoda,” Yaddle. Despite all that, the species still hasn’t been given any real history or name by George Lucas or any other creator.
All that is really known about the species is they’re short, green, powerful in The Force, and can live a long time.
10 Qui-Gon Taught Him How to Force Ghost
Yoda is one of the most powerful Jedi and Force users in the galaxy. There’s few characters, if any, introduced in the movies or novels that can eclipse Yoda in skill and power.
However, this doesn’t mean that every mystery of the universe is open to Yoda. In fact, one of Yoda’s most memorable feats-- being able to live after death as a Force Ghost-- wasn’t self-taught.
It was Qui-Gon Jinn who first broke down that barrier. After his death at the hands of Darth Maul, Qui-Gon became one with the Force and floated in between life and death. Through enough force of will, no pun intended, Qui-Gon managed to manifest as a Force Ghost interacting with his Jedi companions long after his death.
It’s through these communications that Yoda learned to Force Ghost himself. Sometimes among the Jedi, the student does surpass the master.
9 He Was a Master for 800 Years
Yoda was exactly 900 years old when he died in Return of the Jedi. Living nearly a millennium, Yoda, obviously, spent a long time in the Jedi Order. However, most fans might be aware of how quickly Yoda rose to the rank of Master and stayed there.
The exact age of when Yoda joined the Order isn’t known. It wasn’t around the age of three to four as it would be for humans. Yoda was a youngling for his species but probably more middle aged for anyone with a normal lifespan. In any case, Yoda quickly rose through the ranks of the Jedi. So right before Yoda turned 100, he was a master.
Being a master before your hundredth birthday might not sound like much an achievement for normal people. However, that means for 800 years and about 90% of his life Yoda had the rank of master. That’s like a teenager sitting on the Council.
8 He is an Honorary Wookie
It’s suddenly mentioned in Revenge of the Jedi, by Yoda himself, that he has good relations with the Wookies on Kashyyyk. This is despite that the fact that the only time the Wookie homeland has appeared in live-action in the Star Wars saga is during the horrible (and buried) Christmas Special.
In the movie, the reason for how and when Yoda developed such a great relationship with Chewbacca’s people is left a mystery.
Evidently though, the first time audiences saw Yoda on Kashyyyk was far from the first time he was on the planet. During and before the Clone Wars, Yoda visited Kashyyyk several times and helped its furry residents. Yoda was such an assistance than eventually he was named an honorary member of their species.
This is no small feat. While Chewbacca might seem like Han’s sidekick, his people have a vast and varied culture. Not everyone can be a wookie.
7 He's The Only Jedi to Not Take Off His Robe While Fighting
This is plain to see in any Star Wars movie or TV show, however, it’s nevertheless interesting to point out. The Jedi have a very specific uniform with their tunic and their robe overlapping it. Understandably, when most Jedi engage in a lightsaber duel, they shed their robe for greater mobility. Yoda isn't one of them.
Yoda is the only Jedi to be shown fighting, without his robe around his shoulders. Whenever Yoda engages in battle it is with the robe on and swinging wildly. The reason why doesn’t seem readily obvious.
In fact, when Yoda is a CGI creature it would seem harder to animate him and his cloak. However, for most his appearances, Yoda is always wearing his robe.
The one exception is after his battle with Emperor Palpatine in Revenge of the Sith, where the robe falls off Yoda as he flees.
6 His Cane Can Sustain Him Physically
Yoda’s cane is as important to his appearance as anything else. Yoda’s cane is a integral part of his look but it’s much more than just a stick. For starters, Yoda began using his cane as a way to convince younger Padawans that he was much older and frailer than he was in reality. However, the stick is not just another Jedi Mind Trick.
Yoda’s cane is actually a device called a gimer stick. While it does keep Yoda upright later in his life, it does much more for the aging Jedi. The gimer stick is full with “nutritious juices.” While that sounds disgusting it can actually help sustain its user physically and eases their pain.
With his gimer stick by his side, it actually starts to make a lot of sense how Yoda lived for decades all alone on a swamp planet.
5 His Name Comes from the Sanskrit for Warrior
The prequel trilogy had Yoda hopping around and slashing with his lightsaber like the bizarre little frog man he is; but in the original trilogy things were different. Yoda was much more passive in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Some of this is probably due to the limitations of him being a puppet. Still, Yoda seems to represent peace and communion with The Force. This makes the basis of his name a bit confusing.
While most people might consider Yoda to be as made up as other names like Obi-Wan, Skywalker or Sheev, it’s not. Yoda has a basis in the ancient language of Sanskrit. The spelling and translations differ, but “Yodha” is recognized as the Sanskrit word for a masculine fighter or warrior.
Interestingly other names in Star Wars, like Shmi or Padme, also come similar lingistic backgrounds.
4 George Lucas Always Wanted Him to Be CGI
Puppet or CGI? Like most things, Star Wars fans have constantly debated which form of Yoda they prefer more-- a puppet with practical effects or a more mobile computer-generated version. As far as his creator, George Lucas, is concerned, Yoda was always meant to be CGI.
The creation and look of Yoda was a huge cause of stress for Lucas while making Empire Strikes Back. George had a very specific vision in mind for Yoda and he was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to make it work without CGI, which would’ve been far too expensive at the time.
Eventually the puppet was created and Lucas (grudgingly) settled for it but he was never truly happy. The CGI creation that debuted in Attack of the Clones was what Lucas always had in mind for Yoda. Regardless if Yoda’s since turned back into a puppet in The Last Jedi.
3 Frank Oz Was Almost Never Yoda
Star Wars is so popular that every performance in its universe can be considered iconic. Luke Skywalker has appeared in multiple stories outside the movies but it’s impossible to not compare any “new” Luke to Mark Hamill.
Yet, if there’s two unmistakable voices in Star Wars, it’s James Earl Jones as Darth Vader and Frank Oz as Yoda. In fact, Oz is, so far, the only actor to appear in all three Star Wars trilogies. However, Oz almost didn’t get to play Yoda.
Frank Oz was always attached to Yoda. Throughout filming Oz was Yoda's puppeteer. However, when he sent a tape to George Lucas with his voice, Lucas rejected it. All the way into post-production for Empire, Lucas was trying to audition new voices for Yoda. Eventually, though, Lucas changed his mind and the rest is history.
2 His Original Name was Minch (or Buffy)
Perhaps it’s due to the popularity of the character. However, the name of Yoda just fits the Jedi Master like a glove. It even communicates part of his personality. Yoda is a flawless name, but it wasn't the only name he ever had in his history.
During the first stages of the character’s origins, Yoda had first name. His full name used to be Minch Yoda. Eventually, the name Minch was given to another character in Star Wars Legends-- a member of Yoda’s species but not Yoda.
Minch is bad enough, but there’s a name that precedes it. Before Yoda was Yoda or even Minch Yoda, his name was Buffy. It’s a name that works for a blonde teenage vampire slayer. Not so much for an ancient and wise Jedi Master.
1 His Blanket on Dagobah Comes from Qui-Gon's Cloak
When Yoda’s dies in Return of the Jedi, he has a large brown blanket wrapped around him. In most universes, such an item would be insignificant and meaningless. The blanket is just a blanket. However, Star Wars doesn't take place most universes.
Revealed in the novel, From a Certain Point of View, Yoda’s blanket is actually made out of Qui-Gon Jinn’s robe. The book includes a series of short stories set during of A New Hope and told from the points of view of characters not considered the main heroes (or villains) in the movie. Yoda is given one story. During Yoda's story it’s mentioned that he’s kept Qui-Gon’s cloak and uses it to keep warm.
It’s a sweet, if slightly bizarre little tidbit. Qui-Gon did shed his robe before his fatal duel with Darth Maul, so presumably Obi-Wan retrieved and gave it to Yoda.
What are some of your favorite Star Wars facts about Yoda? Sound off in the comments!