Yoda’s presence helps define the entire Star Wars series, from his unorthodox introduction in The Empire Strikes Back to his prominent roles in the prequel trilogy.
Yet to begin with, he was a huge risk. The making of the Empire Strikes Back was at times chaotic and it was touch and go whether the film would be finished at all, with Yoda’s weirdness being one of many leaps of faith. Such an important character being not only non-human, but not even played by an actor in a traditional way, could have gone hopelessly wrong for George Lucas and Empire director Irvin Kershner.
Instead, it all went memorably right. Yoda became enshrined as one of the most beloved characters in the entire Star Wars setting, while in story terms he was depicted as the wisest and most powerful Jedi in the galaxy. Humble and unassuming, and yet awesomely powerful when compelled to be, Yoda’s legacy is such that name has become a synonym for all-knowing mentor.
He’s a familiar face to anyone who has watched the Star Wars series in any depth, and yet there’s plenty more to know about this pointy-eared guru.