StarWars.com has released a new look at Yoda ahead of the arrival of Star Wars: The High Republic in January 2021. This look at Yoda takes place a couple of hundred years before the events of the Star Wars movies that so many Star Wars fans know and love. In a recent post on StarWars.com, not only was this new glimpse of a younger Yoda released, but also some of the thoughts behind this new look. A great deal of care was made to get this right.
Yoda will be a prominent character in Daniel José Older’s Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures comic that will be arriving in 2021 from IDW Publishing. Seeing as this is a comic, a new design for Yoda had to be created that showed him only 700 years old instead of 900 as seen in the movies.
“It’s especially exciting to be able to introduce him in the era of the High Republic,” Older shared with StarWars.com. “The High Republic Yoda is a journeyman out in the galaxy.” According to Older, the Emperor’s “little green friend” will still be somewhat familiar in his actions to readers as he will again be carrying the role of teacher.
“While he’s already a respected member of the Jedi Council at this point, we meet Yoda in IDW’s The High Republic Adventures series doing what he loves best: looking out for the young folks — in this case, a group of Padawans traveling around the galaxy to learn the ways of the Jedi with a hands-on approach,” Older says. “The Force study abroad program, basically.”
Getting to tell a story about Yoda was never something that Older dreamed could happen for him. However, now that it is happening he takes the responsibility of writing for him very seriously.
“The only reason writing Yoda wasn’t on my Star Wars writing bucket list is because I didn’t think it would ever be possible!” he says. “It’s an incredible honor to give words to one of my all-time favorite Star Wars characters.”
Updating Yoda was a daunting task. “The goal was to update Yoda, but to be careful and be true to the Yoda that we all know and love,” says Troy Alders, Lucasfilm art director. “Also, to really make sure that the new look was believable, as this is really the first time that there has been an opportunity to update his look and his clothing. It felt like a daunting and enormous responsibility to embark on and get right.”
Here is a look at what a 700-year-old Yoda looks like:
Lucasfilm really didn’t want to mess anything up with the design process of Yoda for this era. “Well, Yoda is not that much younger — around 700 years old instead of about 900. But we thought that with it being hundreds of years earlier, he would definitely have a different outfit, maybe even more than one,” says Alders. “His age, as far as the way that his hair and face look, is maybe just slightly younger, but fairly close to his look in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.”
Since the look was to be close to Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, artist Iain McCaig who helped with the look of the film was asked to be a part of the process for this new era’s version of Yoda.
“Right away, concept artist Iain McCaig felt like the go-to artist to help us start to explore this new look for Yoda,” says Alders, “so we called him up and started to talk about what directions to explore.” Other artists contributed, as well, including Disney Publishing illustration manager Jeff R. Thomas and Star Wars: Dark Legends artist Grant Griffin who came together to help with Yod’s look. Griffin’s concept art shows a younger Yoda with a different outfit that fits with the era of this story. He also has a Lightsaber holster that is appropriate for the era. “This mission outfit, with just tonal markings on the robe, are inspired by the Jedi Temple architectural details. Many new fans may not even notice these very subtle additions,” Alders says. “The temple attire, however, from this special time of the golden age of the Jedi, feels so right with its elegance, and we are all extremely grateful for the artists that helped us arrive at such a beautiful solution for this important milestone in the Star Wars timeline.”
The entire team worked incredibly hard to make sure that all of these designs were appropriate for the story and also for Yoda, that is such a fan-favorite character in the Star Wars universe.
“I do not think that I, or anyone on our team, fully realized what a huge task this was,” Alders says. “But looking at where we arrived, after many countless explorations and iterations with various creative minds and artists, it feels authentic to what this noble Jedi would wear. Dressing Yoda for this epic time period, and creating designs adorned with gold, using beautiful fabrics and details, is something that he and all of the Jedi very much deserve, and the end result, I think, is gorgeous, and really celebrates this exciting and visually rich, gilded era.”
What do you think of this new era look for Yoda? Are you excited to read the stories of Star Wars: The High Republic?