Although his reappearance as a Force ghost in The Last Jedi proved to be controversial with some fans, Yoda remains one of the most beloved and iconic characters in the Star Wars universe. A wise and powerful Jedi, he is. Being 900 years old in the original trilogy, Yoda was one of the few characters in the initial three movies that George Lucas was able to explore in further depth in the prequel trilogy.
A lot about Yoda’s backstory is unclear, but that just adds to the character’s mystique. So, Star Wars aficionados, here are Yoda’s 10 Greatest Moments, Ranked.
10 His lightsaber duel with Count Dooku
Until he battled Count Dooku on Geonosis towards the end of Attack of the Clones, we’d never actually seen Yoda in action. He was too old to fight in the original trilogy and he had too small a role to get involved in the combat in The Phantom Menace.
Yoda’s lightsaber duel with Dooku was added into the second prequel movie by George Lucas in order to show just how powerful Yoda was in his prime. He might be small, but he has some serious might, as shown by his impressive swordsmanship and immense Force abilities in this duel with Dooku.
9 Sensing Order 66
No one in the Jedi Order could see Order 66 coming. As far as anyone knew, Palpatine was just a politician with a seat in the Galactic Senate. But really, he was a Sith Lord bent on dominating the galaxy with an all-powerful fallen Jedi to do his bidding. Still, Yoda sensed Order 66.
When his Clone guards were ordered to kill Yoda, the wise old master could sense the pain and fear in their hearts, so he beat them to the punch and decapitated them before they could kill him. None of the other Jedi could see it coming, but Yoda could.
8 Burning the sacred texts
Although Disney’s marketing campaign successfully managed to keep the appearance of Yoda’s Force ghost in The Last Jedi a surprise, some fans were disappointed with it, because it felt unnecessary and didn’t tie in with the new characterization of Luke Skywalker.
However, in a very Yoda moment, while Luke was mulling over whether or not to burn the sacred Jedi texts in his little temple on Ahch-To, Yoda’s ghost summoned a lightning bolt with the Force that burned the temple to the ground. Luke was being all dramatic about it, as he is wont to do, so Yoda made the decision for him.
7 Showing up on Geonosis with the Clone Army
Towards the end of Attack of the Clones, things are looking bleak for the Jedi. They’ve all been backed into a gladiatorial arena where the Separatist leaders are watching them square off against their armies of droids.
And then, when it’s looking like the Jedi Knights might be outmatched by the battle droids and droidekas, Yoda storms the arena with battleships filled with the Republic’s new Clone Army. One movie later, the Clone Army would be ordered to slaughter the entire Jedi Order as Palpatine took over the Senate and later the galaxy, but this is still an awesome moment.
6 Whacking R2-D2 with his stick
When Luke and R2-D2 first arrived on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back for Luke’s Jedi training, Yoda smacked Artoo in the head with his cane. It was a funny moment that established Yoda as a wacky, comedic character in addition to being a wise old master who could be taken seriously.
Some fans have debated why Yoda didn’t recognize Artoo in this scene, since they spent some time together in the prequels. But the narrative explanation is that droids are seen as appliances, so it would be like not recognizing your friend’s refrigerator from 30 years ago, while the real-life explanation is that George Lucas hadn’t worked out the prequel stories yet.
5 Confronting the Emperor
The climactic battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin on Mustafar is easily the most emotionally charged and thrilling lightsaber duel in the final act of Revenge of the Sith, but Yoda’s skirmish with Emperor Palpatine is a close second. Yoda doesn’t get bogged down in having foreseen exactly this happening. Instead, he rolls up his sleeves and confronts the Emperor, the tyrannical overlord who has corrupted the Jedi’s most promising young recruit, taken over the Republic, and plans to execute every single Jedi Knight as his first order of business.
They duel it out in the Emperor’s office and in the Galactic Senate Chamber, hurling repulsorpods at each other with the Force and clashing lightsabers in an intense struggle to emerge the victor.
4 Returning as a Force ghost on Endor
The destruction of the Death Star II, the fall of the Empire, and the redemption of Darth Vader wrapped up the story of the original Star Wars trilogy at the end of Return of the Jedi. However, the real closure came at the very end on Endor. Luke was celebrated the Rebels’ victory with the other heroes and saw the Force ghosts of Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin all appear.
These are all of his authority figures – his mentor, his master, and his father – and from beyond the grave, they’ve arrived to see him off into a bright future. That’s why it was disappointing when his future turned out to not be so bright.
3 His death
Yoda’s death is one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire Star Wars saga, but at least he goes out on his own terms. He isn’t slaughtered in battle or surprised in his sleep with a lightsaber through the chest. He reaches 900 years old and dies peacefully in his own bed.
And luckily, Luke Skywalker returns to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training just in time to have a final farewell with his master. With his dying breath, Yoda imparts a few last pieces of wisdom onto Luke, telling him that he must confront Darth Vader to truly be a Jedi.
2 Sensing darkness in Anakin
In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon is ecstatic when he finds a slave boy on Tatooine who he believes to be “the chosen one” that all the Jedi prophecies foretold. But when they bring him back to the Jedi Council on Coruscant, Yoda can sense darkness in Anakin’s soul. After Qui-Gon is slain by Darth Maul, his dying wish to Obi-Wan is for him to train Anakin to be a Jedi.
So, Obi-Wan reluctantly accepts the challenge and Yoda ultimately relents and lets him train Anakin. But as we’d later find out, that was a huge mistake and everyone should’ve just listened to Yoda in the first place.
1 Yoda lifts Luke’s X-wing using the Force
By the rules of storytelling, when a character has been built up as a mystical and powerful and even legendary figure within the world of the film, they have to show that at some point. It can’t all just be blowing smoke. We have to see their power to believe it. Yoda demonstrates his immense Force abilities to Luke – and to the audience – when he lifts Luke’s X-wing out of the swamp using only the Force.
In a second, Luke realizes that Obi-Wan was right about Yoda, and we learn not to judge a book by its cover. He might be a weird little green gremlin, but he’s the most powerful character we’ve seen yet.