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

Feb. 08, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
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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Comments


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

  1. Glenn says:

    Um, didn’t Yoda die in Return of the Jedi?

  2. Aaron says:

    Please don't…. Please don't

  3. tabathabx says:

    Just have someone who is fan friendly play yodas voice, do you all know Frank Oz doesn't sign toys or figurines for his fans, my young son beggrd him to sign his yoda figurine and he refused.

    • KilrNinja says:

      Just because he won't sign autographs doesn't make him not fan friendly. I mean Mark Hamill won't sign anything Star Wars either, but he loves his fans and is always talkative and willing to answer questions and things.

      • SW fan says:

        I have a signed photo of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker… I purchased it, it was not signed in person for me, but it came with a certificate of authenticity and I have no reason to think it's anything but legit. So he may not sign SW stuff at conventions, I'm not sure. And that may have something to do with royalties, the characters belonging to Lucasfilm, etc. In ROTJ-era interviews and throughout the 80s and early 90s, Mark seemed to be trying to distance himself from Luke Skywalker. But in recent years I don't think that is the case, he's active in geek culture and will talk about his SW experience. So if he won't sign SW stuff, I'd say there is probably more to that than being fan friendly or unfriendly.

        I know much less about Frank Oz and his fan interactions… but there may be more going on there than just personal preference?

        Still… I think if there IS a reason, the person should explain what it is. "I'm not allowed to sign SW stuff except through this contracted seller, but I'll be glad to sign a photo" or "I'm sorry, the management of this event has ruled no autographs." etc. Otherwise, whatever the reason is, the person comes off as unfriendly or stuck up or something to that effect.

    • Donny B. says:

      Yeah, and I begged you to shovel the snow out of my driveway without pay, and you refused. Autographs have become a commodity. Maybe Frank didn't want to sign the Yoda figurine (for nothing) and watch your son turn around and sell it on eBay.

  4. David says:

    "Just have someone who is fan friendly play yodas voice, do you all know Frank Oz doesn't sign toys or figurines for his fans, my young son begged him to sign his yoda figurine and he refused."

    Maybe so, but I once saw him in a theater around the time Clones was released. He was signing posters for the employees and seemed very gracious. Everyone is entitled to a bad day, and signing isn't compulsory.

  5. Billman says:

    Tabathax is right, we should all give up on having the original voice do the character because the actor was a dick one time to his kid and couldn’t get his action figure signed. Completely justified. Hey guys, I also want everyone to stop drinking at Starbucks because I couldn’t get Irish cream that one time. Fair trade, right?

  6. Kenny says:

    I think it could be fun being completely in the dark as to when a story takes place!

    What about, in place of single character spinoffs, a new trilogy of trilogies is created between 2016-2018, one per year, but leave the audience in the dark, initially, as to when they occur on the timeline?

    Maybe even start a new trilogy in 2016 and keep where it sits on the timeline ambiguous (I'm thinking the beginning to middle of the Old Republic; that gives you 12,000 years to work with) but drop a hint [Trilogy #1].

    Have a new, separate, trilogy start in 2017 that starts just before Darth Bane and the rule of two with name drops of ancient figures that allow the audience to piece together the time frame [Trilogy #2]. By the third film [Trilogy #2] drop a hint, by way of the birth of Yoda or something similar, that allows one to discover the trilogy takes place prior to the Skywalker Saga.

    Have the other [Trilogy #3] take place thousands of years after the ST. Weave in a through line permeating all three new trilogies with references to The Prophecy and the Galactic Civil War and you have an epic of MONUMENTAL proportions!

    The movies in the near future should retain the epic proportions we've come to expect and remain the Star Wars saga we all love. Leave the minutiae for the tv shows and worry about spinoffs after the history of the Galaxy Far, Far Away has been written.

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