That's weird. With all this talk of new Star Wars movies, including a big whopping rumor about a Yoda spin-off movie, it never once occurred to us that Frank Oz might not play the iconic character. The original voice-over artist played Yoda in all the live-action movies, and is so indelibly linked to one of cinema's most memorable accents and syntaxes that a Star Wars movie without him seems unthinkable. Like Star Wars: The Clone Wars? We NEVER think of that.
Fortunately, Frank Oz – who went on to direct such classic films as The Dark Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors and In & Out – says he's "absolutely" willing to return for another Star Wars feature film. But in a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, Oz says that Yoda will almost definitely stay a CGI creation, as opposed to his original, classic puppet days in the initial trilogy.
Quoth the Oz: "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."
We still haven't confirmed the existence – or even "potential" existence – of a Yoda spin-off movie, nor is there any guarantee that the diminuitive Jedi Master has a place in any of the Star Wars movies currently planned. But it's comforting to know that, if he does show up, he'll probably be the same Yoda we've all known and loved for decades. Except for the puppet part.