Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The Last Jedi is filled with callbacks to the original Star Wars trilogy. But for many galaxy far, far away fans, the most exciting — and emotional — tribute to Episodes IV-VI is the moment Yoda appears on screen.
It happens after Rey, fed-up with Luke Skywalker’s refusal to help the Resistance, leaves Ahch-To determined to find Kylo Ren and turn him from the Dark Side to the Light. A frustrated Luke decides to burn down the first Jedi temple along with the ancient texts inside of it (although it’s later revealed that Rey stole the books before leaving the island). It’s then that everyone’s favorite green Jedi master, Yoda, shows up to school his former apprentice in the ways of the Force.
In The Return of the Jedi, Yoda’s body disappears at the moment of his death, signaling that he possesses the ability to return to the world of the living as a Force ghost — basically, a physical manifestation of his soul. However, judging by Luke’s reaction to his arrival in The Last Jedi, it seems as though he has been missing in action since his appearance alongside the Force spirits of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker at the Rebel celebration in Episode VI.
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Sensing that Luke has lost his perspective, Yoda sends a bolt of lightning crashing into the Jedi temple to set it on fire on his own. Then, in typical Yoda-speak, he reminds Luke why a true understanding of the Force can’t be learned from a bunch of old books.
In another nod to the original trilogy, director Rian Johnson seems to have opted to use a puppet rather than CGI to bring Yoda to life onscreen. Star Wars veteran Frank Oz even returned to voice the beloved character.
“I feel like I’m a prisoner at war here, and I can only give you my name, rank and serial number,” Oz told Variety in a March interview, hinting at his role. “To be true to the people who asked me, and they are kind of my family, I have to say I’ve been asked not to talk about it. I love Yoda. I would be happy to talk to you about it at the time they let me.”
Mark Hamill — who plays Luke — also tweeted that Oz’s appearance at The Last Jedi premiere could potentially be considered a spoiler.
However, for the sake of Star Wars fans who are desperately trying to remain spoiler-free, mum’s still the word on this one. Or as Yoda himself would say, remain secret, my return must.