Yoda was one of the surprises of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The legendary puppeteer Frank Oz, who was responsible for bringing Yoda to life in the the original trilogy recently spoke with IGN and explained how it came to be that he asked to bring back the Jedi Master in Star Wars: The Last Jedi:
“Several years ago I had lunch with Rian [Johnson], and Rian asked if I could do Yoda in the next Star Wars, and I said ‘Sure,’ because I thought it was just CGI. And then [Lucasfilm president] Kathy Kennedy, who I’ve known for quite a while, who’s fantastic, she called me about it and then I realized that it wasn’t CGI, that it was actually the character.”
Oz then expressed his concerns to president of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy.
“‘I said, ‘Kathy, do you have any idea what’s going to happen here? This is tough!’ and she said ‘That’s okay, let’s do it.’ So, you know, the workshop made him and everything, and did a fantastic job.”
Seeing Yoda in The Last Jedi for sort of bittersweet for me. It was wonderful to see Yoda and Luke together again, but the reason for their reunion broke my heart. Yoda basically said everything he ever taught Luke on Degobah was either no longer useful or it never was, that the Jedi mythology was heavily flawed and needed to be destroyed.
This was some of the only fan service that Rian Johnson gave us. I’m not saying the movie should have been all about giving fans what they wanted, but I think most of us hoped we would get a little something.