Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Yoda (896 BBY - 4 ABY), standing only 2 feet 1 inch (0.66 metres), is arguably the most powerful Jedi Master in Star Wars and one of the senior members of the Jedi Council. Also the wisest Jedi in the galaxy, the grandmaster of that august body is widely known as a sage instructor. In his career as a Jedi Master, Yoda has trained several notable Jedi, including Count Dooku, Mace Windu, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Luke Skywalker.
George Lucas has intentionally kept Yoda's race a secret. (Yoda and Yaddle are sometimes referred to as Whills, yet this species designation has not been pronounced canonical.) As a matter of fact, very little is known of Yoda's life before the events of Episode I. It is known that he was one of the Jedi Masters who ran the mobile academy aboard the starship Chu'un'thor and that he left the ship's data tapes in the care of one of the natives when the ship crashed on Dathomir.
At the climax of the Battle of Geonosis, Yoda dueled Count Dooku and saved Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan, Anakin Skywalker. Though seemingly frail, Yoda demonstrated a mastery of the lightsaber that only a Jedi Master could possess; he implemented his mastery with Form IV lightsaber combat, known for its extreme use of acrobatics (see the seven forms of lightsaber combat). Besides his mastery with the lightsaber, Yoda was also a powerful user of the Force. In Attack of the Clones, Yoda uses the Force to save Anakin and Kenobi.
During the Great Jedi Purge (or the Jedi Holocaust) that launched the Galactic Civil War, Yoda escaped to Dagobah where he awaited the arrival of Luke Skywalker. When Luke arrived, Yoda — after some reluctance — agreed to teach him in the ways of The Force. Prior to finishing his instruction, however, Luke chose to leave Dagobah in order to confront Darth Vader and save his friends. Luke promised to return to complete his training, but upon his arrival, Yoda, greatly weakened by old age, informed Luke that he was a Jedi and his training was complete, and all that remained was for Luke to face Vader. Yoda then died at the age of 900 and became one with the Force.
When the Force is not fully surging throughout his dimunitive frame, the elderly Yoda requires a cane. On Dagobah, his gimer stick cane contains nutrients that could revitalize him were he to chew on it.
Yoda speaks English (known as 'Galactic Basic' in Star Wars) in a distinctive manner by placing verbs (and more frequently, auxiliary verbs) after the object and subject. In linguistic typology this is the "Object Subject Verb" format. An example of Yoda's speech pattern, from Return of the Jedi: When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not. The speech pattern has been the source of much parody humor.
To his students, the elfin Yoda could appear as either very strict or like a grandfatherly figure, testing them to mental and physical extremes one moment and showing warmth the next. (In the beginning of their training, students may not see eye-to-eye with him, but eventually come to see the significance of his teachings.) Amongst his colleagues on the Jedi Council, he is known to have a penchant for mischief and practical jokes. To all of them, the humble Yoda epitomizes the very ideals of the Jedi Order.
Bringing the character to life
Yoda is voiced by Frank Oz. In the original Star Wars trilogy and The Phantom Menace, he was realized as a Muppet (controlled by Oz). Rendered with computer animation in Attack of the Clones, Yoda appeared in ways not previously possible, including his participation in an elaborate fight scene.
Yoda's popularity is such that the comedy musician, "Weird Al" Yankovic, parodied the song "Lola" by the Kinks with a version called "Yoda" included on the album Dare to Be Stupid (1985). More recently, the Great Luke Ski parodied the song "YMCA" by the Village People with a version called "Y.O.D.A." included on the albums Fanboys ‘n Da Hood (1996) and Carpe Dementia (1999).
- "Star Wars: Databank: Yoda"
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