State secrets have nothing on Star Wars. Governments leak more than Lucasfilm. It’s currently less than a year until Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters and there is still no trailer and no idea of where the story will take the characters. But sometimes, the silence can be deafening. Case in point: Frank Oz, the voice of Yoda, can neither confirm nor deny he’ll be in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII.
During a recent interview with Variety that covered a range of topics from Miss Piggy becoming a gay rights icon to transitioning his career from puppeteer to director, the topic of Star Wars came up. Surely interviewer Ramin Setoodeh didn’t expect Frank Oz to give him a straight answer when he questioned if Oz would confirm reports he’d be returning to a galaxy far, far away for The Last Jedi. But Oz’s answer was… intriguing.
I feel like I’m a prisoner at war here, and I can only give you my name, rank and serial number. 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.
One might say no one at Lucasfilm would ask Frank Oz to keep his mouth shut if he wasn’t in the new movie. But this is Star Wars. It’s possible that most of the major players who haven’t shown up yet in the new trilogy have been asked to play coy, just in case. Even if Yoda doesn’t appear in The Last Jedi, it’s good odds that audiences haven’t seen the last of the tiny green Jedi. The galaxy is populated with holovids, flashbacks, and actual literal ghosts. A good chunk of the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars cartoon was dedicated to explaining how Yoda came to possess the power necessary for his spirit to remain whole after death. If Luke is struggling in the aftermath of his failure with Kylo Ren, it makes sense his former masters might appear to comfort him or offer advice on what to do with this new girl who shows so much promise.
Or Frank Oz could be throwing out a distraction. After all, there’s one part of the current Star Wars timeline where Yoda is still alive: Star Wars Rebels. And I’d bet you a shiny nickel he shows up there before the final curtain on the connective tissue between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One.