'Star Wars: The High Republic' Concept Art Reveals A Younger Yoda

As the Star Wars universe has expanded (or shrunk once Disney made everything outside of the films and The Clone Wars prior to mid-2014 non-canon, putting them under the Legends umbrella), we get to see more and more backstories for our favorite characters. One might make the argument that we do not need as much backstory as we have gotten. The prequel trilogy has shown that not every question about backstory needs an answer. At the same time, however, it is interesting to see more of the characters we know and love.

That includes the little green Jedi Grandmaster Yoda.

Star Wars: The High Republic is an upcoming publishing line from Lucasfilm Publishing, the company responsible for publishing the myriad Star Wars books that fleshed out vastness of the universe only hinted at in the movies. Some of the best Star Wars material has come from the novels. Star Wars: The High Republic will show the Jedi in their golden age 200 years before The Phantom Menace. Most Star Wars media in canon has shown the Jedi either mostly destroyed (the original trilogy), about to be destroyed (the prequel era), or going through the trials and tribulations of reforming after the Empire's destruction (the sequel trilogy). So actually seeing the Jedi as they have been built up to be will be a unique experience for the canon.

One part of that golden age is seeing a much younger Yoda, who will be featured in Daniel Jose Older's The High Republic Adventures comic series coming in 2021. He is not one as young as The Child in The Mandalorian, though some might find Yoda at that age to be interesting to see at some point. We will see what kind of Jedi he was before the drama of the rise of the Galactic Empire. Now that his addition to the publishing project has been officially announced and, more importantly, concept art of younger Yoda has surfaced, we can get an idea of what to expect from this era.

Lucasfilm art director Troy Alders gave enlightening statements on the plans for Yoda, stating the following:
“The goal was to update Yoda, but to be careful and be true to the Yoda that we all know and love. 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.”
Getting it right is of the highest importance. Die-hard Star Wars fans can sometimes be a notoriously fickle bunch who are very protective of the characters they love. In 1999, people were not happy with the look of the Yoda puppet in The Phantom Menace, which has since been replaced with the CGI version of the character. There was also some backlash to seeing Yoda in Attack of the Clones igniting a tiny green lightsaber and flipping around despite the fact that, seconds earlier, he was walking slowly with a cane. Before that, he was seen as somebody who was above using the lightsaber given how in-tune and powerful he was with the Force.

However, seeing a younger Yoda could expand that and make it a little more reasonable to see him being more athletic.

Granted, "younger" is a relative term here. According to Alders:
"Yoda is not that much younger — around 700 years old instead of about 900."
Given that very little has been revealed about Yoda's species, down to the actual name never being revealed in any aspect of Star Wars media, 700 years might be much closer to upper-middle aged than old, as Yoda is in the main timeframe that we have seen of the canon. A Yoda at that age would likely not be seen as raw and untrained, but it would not be surprising to see him with a little less wisdom than he shows in the movies. However, while the concept art does show a Yoda who does not appear to be as ancient, the creators still wanted somebody familiar. He is still highly recognizable as Yoda.

Any addition to the Star Wars universe should be treated delicately, especially with Lucasfilm having throwing out much of what was previously canon. With the book taking place two hundred years before the prequels, it can go in almost any direction that it wants, but it still must be familiar as Star Wars. A younger, but still recognizable, Yoda, will go a long way helping with that.

Source(s): StarWars.com