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22 Important Things You Should Know About Yoda

Stuart Freeborn, the British make-up artist who designed Yoda, has died. Miss you we will. Here are some intriguing facts about Freeborn’s most famous creation.

1. Freeborn based Yoda on his own appearance

2. However, he also wanted Yoda to look intelligent, so he threw in a bit of Albert Einstein as well

Reuters Photographer / Reuters

3. He also gave him green skin - which is just as well, because Yoda with human skin is horrifying

We repeat: horrifying

4. What IS Yoda? Nobody knows. Not even George Lucas

Or if he does, he’s not telling. Yoda’s race and home world have never been revealed, and he is merely said to be of a “species unknown” by the Star Wars Databank.

5. Even so, Lucas is obviously proud of Yoda. There is a statue of him at Lucasfilm Ltd. production studios in San Francisco

Paul Sakuma, File / AP
Jeff Chiu / AP

6. The voice of Yoda was provided by Frank Oz, who also voiced Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear in “The Muppets”, as well as Cookie Monster in “Sesame Street”

George Lucas was so impressed by Oz’s performance as Yoda that he tried to get him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

7. Yoda’s speech patterns have been studied by academic linguists

They found that “Yodic” has object–subject–verb syntax, which is rare in the real world, but is a feature of some Amazonian languages, such as Xavante.

Gregory Bull / AP

8. But if he spoke using regular syntax, it’d sound like this

Video available at: http://vimeo.com/39507943.

9. In 2007, “Empire” magazine named Yoda the 25th greatest movie character of all time

According to the British magazine:

“That there’s barely a kid in the known universe who can’t identify Yoda’s quirky syntax speaks volumes. It’s a stroke of genius to introduce the Jedi master, a two-foot high alien with what appears to be mild dementia (although you try keeping it together living alone of Dagobah for 20 odd years), well before revealing who he actually is, and he quickly goes from being cute, to integral, to unforgettable. A perfect cinematic creation.”

Gregory Bull / AP

10. He would totally win in a fight with Predator

11. But he’d probably get on great with Kermit

At least, according to the artist Peter De Seeve. Makes sense: they’re both green, are puppets, and live in swamps.

12. He’s a byword for wisdom

13. But he can be sassy too

15. He can help you get high

16. He can even give you driving directions. There is a ‘Yoda voice’ option for TomTom GPS

17. He’s the ultimate nerd icon. Witness this crocheted Yoda coffee cozy from Etsy

18. He inspires the cutest tributes

20. Even biologists love him

There is a species of ocean-dwelling acorn worm named after Yoda. Yoda Purpurata, to be precise. It lives a mile beneath the surface. Scientists named it after the Star Wars character when they realized its floppy appendages reminded them of Yoda’s ears.

21. Hell, some people go on being Yoda fans even after they’re dead

22. But the best Yoda fact of all? He’s getting his own spin-off movie!

It’s one of a suite of upcoming Star Wars films that Disney just confirmed. According to Ain’t It Cool Editor Harry Knowles:

To start with, they’re going to focus on established characters and do solo films. The first standalone film is going to centre upon Yoda. At this stage, specifics are sparse, but Kathleen Kennedy is putting together a Star Wars slate. I’ve also heard tale of a Jabba story that Lucas has floated to some of his buddies. But word is Yoda is first.

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