|Yoda||Frank Oz||Yoda Quotes||Designing Yoda|
Yoda, the ancient and revered Jedi Master, lived his final years hiding on the swamp planet of Dagobah. Nine hundred years old, Yoda had trained Jedi for eight centuries, and was very powerful in the Force. Among his last pupils were the most important (and reckless) Jedi in recent history, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker.
In the waning days of the Republic, Yoda was a respected senior member of the Jedi Council. Serving alongside such luminaries as Mace Windu and Ki-Adi-Mundi, Yoda was present during the turbulent events that would eventually unravel the centuries-old Republic and seal the fate of the Jedi order.
Yoda served an important role in the Jedi Council. When young Padawans began their first foray into Jedi training, they did so under Yoda's guidance. Many of the Republic's greatest Jedi trained under Yoda when they were children -- schooled in groupings called clans. Once the Jedi hopefuls grew older, approaching their teenage years, they would then be paired to an elder Jedi Knight or Master to continue training one-on-one.
The pall of the dark side fell over the Republic during its twilight years, and Yoda grew increasingly concerned. The emergence of the dark side created a disturbance in the Force strong enough to cloud the Jedi's insights into important matters. Sensing the grave uncertainty of the future, Yoda recognized the need for answers. The Jedi Council dispatched Obi-Wan Kenobi to investigate an assassination attempt apparently carried out by Separatist forces. What he found was all the more troubling.
An entire clone army had been secretly created for the Republic, by decree of a late Jedi, Sifo-Dyas. None in the Council knew of this development, nor had they foreseen it. Further investigation revealed that the Separatists were gearing up for war. Count Dooku, one of Yoda's former Padawans, was consolidating a military force out of the droid armies of the commerce guilds. Something needed to be done.
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, newly granted emergency powers, took possession of the Clone Army, and ordered the Jedi into action. Yoda voyaged to the distant world of Kamino to gather the newly created Republic Military, and arrived on Geonosis to rescue the survivors of an ill-fated Jedi taskforce.
As Republic clones engaged Separatist droids, the Clone Wars began. Yoda, acting as general, oversaw the battle from the forward command center. The clones handily defeated the Separatists on Geonosis, but many escaped. Yoda followed his instincts to a darkened hangar where Count Dooku had grievously wounded Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.
Yoda and Dooku engaged in battle. First, their powers in the Force were put to test, as Dooku attempted to crush the tiny Jedi Master with hurled debris. Yoda easily deflected such assaults, and even repulsed Dooku's Force lightning attacks. The contest came down to a duel of lightsabers. In a climactic battle, the two master combatants displayed amazing speed and agility. Yoda, empowered by the Force, leaped through the air, twirling and battering at Dooku's defenses. Dooku only managed to escape by using the Force to once again jeopardize Anakin and Obi-Wan. Knowing that Yoda's nobility would buy him time, Dooku fled as the ancient Jedi Master saved his younger compatriots.
This first battle of the Clone Wars was a victory for the Republic, but Yoda was troubled. Too much had been clouded by the dark side, and the judgment of the Jedi order was perhaps sullied by complacency and arrogance. Not only had many Jedi died on Geonosis, but the very nature of death itself was now unclear to the wise old master. While meditating, Yoda had felt a traumatic event befall young Anakin Skywalker. At that very moment, he also heard the voice of Qui-Gon Jinn, a Jedi Master slain a decade previous. It was impossible for a Jedi to retain his identity after becoming one with the Force, yet he had heard it.
It was another dangerous and disturbing puzzle for Yoda to solve while the Republic collapsed around him.
When the Empire arose from the ashes of the Republic, the Emperor's agents set out to slaughter the Jedi. Yoda went into hiding on the distant swamp world of Dagobah. There, he waited patiently for a new hope to arise and end the dark side threat to the people of the galaxy.
Three years after the Battle of Yavin, that new hope arrived. Guided to Dagobah by a vision of his former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker discovered Yoda without even knowing it. Stranded on the swampy world, Luke met a comical elfin creature that promised him aid. The creature's antics wore thin on Luke's short patience, but it was the first of many tests -- tests that Luke would fail.
Revealing himself to be Yoda, the Jedi Master began Luke's training in earnest. Telekinetic challenges, challenges of the will and body, more challenges than Luke had ever faced before helped mold the reckless youth into a Jedi. Still, Luke failed to "unlearn" his preconceptions. When asked to raise his sunken starfighter from the Dagobah swamps with the power of his mind alone, he responded he would try. "No," scolded Yoda. "Do, or do not. There is no try." Luke did not believe the Force could lift such a massive object. He was proven wrong when Yoda telekinetically lifted the X-wing fighter and placed it on dry land. Again, Luke was incredulous -- he did not believe; that is why he failed.
When Yoda taught Luke how to "farsee" into the future, a chilling vision of his friends in danger caused the young Skywalker to abandon his training. Luke promised he would return, and rocketed off to rescue his friends. In the end, Luke failed, having to be rescued himself. Yoda feared all would be lost in the effort to stop Vader and the Emperor.
About a year later, Luke did return to conclude his training. Having faced the hardship of confrontation with Vader, and having learned that Vader was actually his father, Luke learned from Yoda that his training was complete. In Luke's absence, Yoda had become quite ill. As he lay dying, Yoda shed some light on Luke's distant past: there was another Skywalker. Yoda died shortly thereafter, disappearing as his body became one with the Force.
Luke would learn that Leia Organa was his sister, and he would also reclaim his father from the dark side. At the celebration after the Battle of Endor, Luke saw the specter of Yoda, joined by ghostly images of Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker, his father, who had died in the light.