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February 08, 2013

Frank Oz ready to return to Yoda for ‘Star Wars’ spinoff movie

Posted in: Movies

Yoda in "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith." (Lucasfilm/Twentieth Century Fox)

Yoda in “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.” (Lucasfilm/Twentieth Century Fox)

If there’s a place for Yoda in the upcoming “Star Wars” movies, Frank Oz is game to return to give voice to the character.

Oz, the former puppeteer and film director who has voiced the ancient Jedi Master in five of the six live-action “Star Wars” films, told Hero Complex in an interview this week that although he hadn’t heard a thing about the new feature projects being planned by Lucasfilm and Disney, he’s game to return to the diminutive character with whom he’s been associated for more than 30 years.

“He’s in my heart,” Oz said. “I know Yoda very deeply.”

Frank Oz (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Frank Oz (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Following last month’s news that J.J. Abrams is set to direct “Episode VII,” one of the biggest developments in the future of the “Star Wars” universe was the confirmation this week from Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger that stand-alone films focusing on individual characters were in the works, with two separate scripts set to be penned by Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg.

Kasdan, of course, co-wrote the screenplay for “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back.”

While there’s been no official word about which characters will serve as the focal point for these stand-alone films, Yoda is as logical a choice as any, and one that the online rumor mill was quick to tout.

In recent years, Yoda has been voiced by actor Tom Kane on the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated TV series, but Oz says he would “absolutely” be interested in returning to the character.

However, fans of Oz’s puppeteering work shouldn’t hold their breath for him to return in his old-fashioned form.

The future of Yoda is likely in CGI, as he was rendered in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith,” Oz said.

“I think it depends on the story, but I think at this point you can’t go back to the puppet,” he said. “The reason George [Lucas] did the CGI, which I supported, was that he wanted to tell a story that would have been hampered by the physical limitations of the puppet.”

– Patrick Kevin Day

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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