Star Wars Legend Frank Oz Levels On Yoda’s Involvement In The Last Jedi
It was arguably one of the greatest scenes in all of The Last Jedi: Yoda, the ancient Jedi with a particular soft spot for Luke Skywalker, appeared before Mark Hamill’s curmudgeon in his hour of need.
But as Frank Oz revealed in a recent chat with IGN (h/t CBM), keeping said scene under wraps proved rather difficult, as the Star Wars fanbase is arguably one of the most active and passionate communities on the planet. Nevertheless, Oz and writer-director Rian Johnson managed to keep Yoda’s involvement a secret, and it’s a credit to Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy that viewers were treated to a practical, non-CG version of the pint-sized Jedi Master.
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. 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.
Continuing on, Frank Oz revealed his fail-safe: if any curious Star Wars fan were to stop him on the streets of England and ask about Yoda, he’d simply tell them that he was in town to shoot Little Shop of Horrors, given its production overlapped with that of The Last Jedi.
I was told that that was going to be the surprise of the movie, so when I went to Pinewood I had to be a secret there. Although if people saw me… people DID see me, but if they questioned me it would have been fine because I shot Little Shop of Horrors … there, and could have just said I had some meetings for movies. But the idea was to keep me off the credits. I was asked, ‘Could you have your name off the poster?’ and I said ‘Sure.’ So the idea was that that would be the surprise.
The Last Jedi star ended the interview by addressing those rumors of a possible Yoda-centric spinoff, to which he replied: “You know what, I keep hearing that and I know nothing about it.” Live in hope, we do.