Rian Johnson Levels On The Last Jedi’s Most Shocking Cameo


Perhaps more so than any other Star Wars movie before it, The Last Jedi blindsided viewers with a story that was equal parts inventive and bold – surprising, yet remarkably well told.

That’s just my own humble opinion, of course, and if we’ve learned anything over the past few days, it’s that Star Wars: The Last Jedi has split audiences right down the middle. It’s even stooped lower than Justice League on the official Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score. Yikes.

Backlash aside, writer-director Rian Johnson honored tradition with his handling of the sequel’s biggest cameo, which was made possible by some rather astonishing puppetry. And just like all other post-launch breakdowns of The Last Jedi, the following quote from Johnson is riddled with spoilers, so proceed with caution.

That felt really important to me. And, actually, I cut some of that out and Frank Oz said to me I had to put it back. Because when I first pitched him the scene, it’s like the Yoda from Empire is back because that’s the one Luke had the emotional connection with. And that’s why we did the puppet and recreated the Empire puppet: Neal Scanlan and his team did a recreation of the Yoda puppet.

It seems the filmmaker really pushed for a one-to-one recreation of Yoda as he appears in Empire Strikes Back. This, coupled with Ahch-To’s parallels to Dagobah – the sunken X-wing, the dark cave…you name it – added a little Star Wars magic to The Last Jedi‘s most endearing scene.

Via Uproxx:

It’s not only a puppet, it’s an exact replica of the Empire puppet. They found the original molds for it. They found the woman that painted the original eyes for Yoda. Then Frank came and worked with them for a few weeks to get the puppet right. He did a lot of testing and a lot of adjusting with the puppet creators. It was amazing to watch the process. The idea that the last time Luke saw Yoda was in Return of the Jedi and the notion of getting back to that version of Yoda to form the emotional connection with Luke – including a glimpse of the impishness, as part of their relationship. It made a lot of sense.

Yoda’s comments about the future of the Jedi Order are also of particular importance to Luke Skywalker, who reluctantly passed on his knowledge and expertise to the budding Rey. And with Luke ostensibly out of the picture – you know, barring the inevitable Force Ghost – The Last Jedi leaves an open field for the upcoming, and indeed conclusive, Episode IX.