Yoda (left) and Frank Oz (Photo: Everett/Getty)
Well, we don't think Disney is going to get anyone else for this gig.
Frank Oz knows about as much as we do when it comes to what's going on at Lucasfilm as they plan the triumphant return of "Star Wars," but whether there ends up being a new trilogy or a bunch of spin-off films or just a bunch of Internet parodies with After Effects lens flares (or, most likely, all of the above), the longtime "Star Wars" veteran is ready to bring back the fractured wisdom of a certain endlessly quotable Jedi Master.
"He's in my heart,” Oz said in a recent interview with Hero Complex. "I know Yoda very deeply."
He most certainly does, as Oz provided the voice of Yoda in five of the six live-action "Star Wars" films, missing one ("Episode IV - A New Hope") only because the character hadn't been introduced yet. Oz also served as Yoda's chief puppeteer in "The Empire Strikes Back," "Return of the Jedi" and for a few scenes in "The Phantom Menace" before the character went all-digital for "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith."
While Oz says he would "absolutely" be interested in returning to the mad wizard of Dagobah, there's probably no chance that the character will ever return to its puppet roots ... a format that Oz admits is probably left for the realms of nostalgia.
"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. 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."
You mean a story that involves leaping about and having a crazy lightsaber duel with Christopher Lee? Fair enough.
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger confirmed earlier this week that there are several character-based "Star Wars" spinoff films beyond the planned new trilogy currently being developed by screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan (who's written Yoda-speak before in his scripts for "Empire" and "Jedi") and Simon Kinberg. A stand-alone Yoda film is rumored to be one of these projects, though the character could also return in "Episode VII" as a ghostly mentor (a trick Obi-Wan Kenobi pulled in both "Empire" and "Jedi").
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