Frank Oz to Return as Yoda on Star Wars Rebels

ON

YodaActor and muppeteer Frank Oz is beloved by Star Wars fans as the voice of wizened Jedi master Yoda in five of the six films, and though the character was portrayed by Tom Kane in “The Clone Wars” animated series, TV Guide reports that “Star Wars Rebels” is going back to the source by having Oz return in upcoming episode “Path of the Jedi.”

The centuries-old icon, still in exile on Dagobah, will offer advice to Jedi knight Kanan and his new padawan learner Ezra on the remote planet of Lothal in the form of a disembodied voice.

“I felt personally to keep Yoda as this disembodied thing it would confuse the audience less,” says executive producer Dave Filoni, who also directed the installment. “I didn’t want you to think Yoda could be teleporting from planet to planet. What’s great about Frank, by keeping the voice very present and active, you do feel that it’s a watchfulness and that he’s speaking to you from afar. And I didn’t want anyone to think that he had left Dagobah. It was on the outer rim of what we do, but I think we were able to pull it off.”

Although there is no confirmation one way or another that Yoda will return as a force ghost for J.J. Abrams’ forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in a September episode of “The Talkhouse” podcast, Star Wars: Episode VIII director Rian Johnson was expressly asked by director Terry Gilliam to bring Oz back. Johnson’s reply? “You kidding? How could you not. How could you not!”

“Path of the Jedi” will air Monday, January 5 at 9/8 CT on Disney XD, and will be available on the Watch Disney XD app beginning Monday, December 29.