Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s Ewan McGregor shares his experience working with Yoda in Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.
In a BBC Radio 1 Interview posted by Muppet History on Twitter, McGregor recounts what it was like working with the original Yoda puppeteered by Frank Oz. He felt lucky to have worked with him back when he was still a puppet and remembers there being about five guys under the floor operating him. Yoda’s facial expressions and movements were all controlled, but when George Lucas shouted, “Cut!” Yoda looked like he was dying because he completely stopped moving. The scene drew a laugh from his co-star Hayden Christensen.
In Episode 2 and Episode 3, Yoda was replaced by a CGI creation, which drew some negative responses from fans who preferred practical effects. But in order for Yoda to do the action sequences with Count Dooku and Palpatine, they had to rely on technological wizardry.
Frank Oz was the puppeteer for and the original voice of Yoda in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda played a significant part in Luke Skywalker’s life, training him in the ways of the Jedi on Dagobah before succumbing to old age and dying.
Obi-Wan Kenobi takes place ten years after Revenge of the Sith and follows Obi-Wan escaping the grasp of Inquisitors while on a mission to rescue young Princess Leia. At this time, Yoda is still alive as he’s exiled on Dagobah and still has to meet Luke, but it’s unlikely the character’s paths will cross physically. Much like Obi-Wan, Yoda doesn’t want to be discovered by his enemies.
A reunion between Obi-Wan and Anakin has happened, however, and fans have been blown away by Darth Vader’s entry in episode three. There’s plenty of speculation about who else from the Star Wars universe could show up, and there have been quite a few cameos so far. Even if Yoda doesn’t show up, his presence still looms large over the series.
Obi-Wan Kenobi is streaming on Disney Plus.