When Star Wars Rebels returns from its winter break on January 5th, 2015, Frank Oz will briefly join the cast as the diminutive Jedi Master Yoda to share some guidance with Kanan as he continues his training of Ezra. While Yoda is still exiled on Dagobah, he is able to communicate through the Force with the young “Master,” so don’t go expecting an actual appearance of the character. However, hearing Frank Oz return as Yoda after nine years is like magic to my ears, even if it seems a little off…in a good way.
Tom Kane has been the principal actor to voice Yoda for more than just the nine or so years since Frank Oz in Revenge of the Sith, but it’s in those past several years he’s left his biggest mark on the character. His work as Yoda has been with us throughout The Clone Wars show, as he was able to take Yoda through some of the character’s more interesting moments and revelations, especially in the Force-filled finale in the show’s final season. In a way, there are generations of Star Wars fans who have thought as Tom Kane first for Yoda and Frank Oz second and I nearly felt like it was the case when first hearing Frank Oz again in the clip above. To me, Tom Kane is Yoda, but Frank Oz is the Yoda, if that makes any sense. They both are, but one just so happens to be the reason why the other even performs Yoda like he does.
Of course I have no idea about the how and why of Yoda being able to speak to Kanan, but I’ll chalk it up to Yoda working on his communication with the Cosmic Force or the fact that both the temple that Kanan is in and the planet of Dagobah that Yoda is on are so strong in the Force it allows for them to connect. Does it really matter when we get to have Yoda around again?
Also, I’ve noticed a lot of people wondering why they didn’t just have Tom Kane continue is role as Yoda, and since I have no idea why, here is some fun speculation (apply a grain of salt to this next bit). They brought him back to stretch his Yoda pipes out for one of several things: an appearance as a Force ghost or disembodied voice in The Force Awakens, get him ready for a spin-off, or to see if they’d want him to read a few lines as a promotional stunt from an unannounced novel staring Yoda (one can dream!).
You can catch Frank Oz as Yoda in Rebels‘ next episode, “Path of the Jedi” airing January 5th. The show has been on a solid run so far, ending with a memorable two-parter with several questions yet to be answered, and I, plus many others, eagerly anticipate its return. Here’s another clip from the episode: