Stuart Freeborn, the British make-up artist who designed Yoda, has died. Miss you we will. Here are some intriguing facts about Freeborn’s most famous creation.
1. Freeborn based Yoda on his own appearance
2. However, he also wanted Yoda to look intelligent, so he threw in a bit of Albert Einstein as well
3. He also gave him green skin – which is just as well, because Yoda with human skin is horrifying
We repeat: horrifying
4. What IS Yoda? Nobody knows. Not even George Lucas
Or if he does, he’s not telling. Yoda’s race and home world have never been revealed, and he is merely said to be of a “species unknown” by the Star Wars Databank.
5. Even so, Lucas is obviously proud of Yoda. There is a statue of him at Lucasfilm Ltd. production studios in San Francisco
6. The voice of Yoda was provided by Frank Oz, who also voiced Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear in “The Muppets”, as well as Cookie Monster in “Sesame Street”
George Lucas was so impressed by Oz’s performance as Yoda that he tried to get him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
7. Yoda’s speech patterns have been studied by academic linguists
They found that “Yodic” has object–subject–verb syntax, which is rare in the real world, but is a feature of some Amazonian languages, such as Xavante.
8. But if he spoke using regular syntax, it’d sound like this
9. In 2007, “Empire” magazine named Yoda the 25th greatest movie character of all time
According to the British magazine:
“That there’s barely a kid in the known universe who can’t identify Yoda’s quirky syntax speaks volumes. It’s a stroke of genius to introduce the Jedi master, a two-foot high alien with what appears to be mild dementia (although you try keeping it together living alone of Dagobah for 20 odd years), well before revealing who he actually is, and he quickly goes from being cute, to integral, to unforgettable. A perfect cinematic creation.”
10. He would totally win in a fight with Predator
11. But he’d probably get on great with Kermit
At least, according to the artist Peter De Seeve. Makes sense: they’re both green, are puppets, and live in swamps.
12. He’s a byword for wisdom
13. But he can be sassy too
14. He can play the clown
15. He can even give you driving directions. There is a ‘Yoda voice’ option for TomTom GPS
16. He’s the ultimate nerd icon. Witness this crocheted Yoda coffee cozy from Etsy
17. He inspires the cutest tributes
18. And the best graffiti
19. Even biologists love him
There is a species of ocean-dwelling acorn worm named after Yoda. Yoda Purpurata, to be precise. It lives a mile beneath the surface. Scientists named it after the Star Wars character when they realized its floppy appendages reminded them of Yoda’s ears.
20. But the best Yoda fact of all? He’s getting his own spin-off movie!
To start with, they’re going to focus on established characters and do solo films. The first standalone film is going to centre upon Yoda. At this stage, specifics are sparse, but Kathleen Kennedy is putting together a Star Wars slate. I’ve also heard tale of a Jabba story that Lucas has floated to some of his buddies. But word is Yoda is first.