10 Obscure Star Wars Facts

Yoda-monkey-costume

6. Yoda was originally supposed to be played by a trained monkey

Chalk this up to another strange what if, but in the earliest stages of planning for the Empire Strikes Back there were fears that a puppet would look too silly onscreen for audiences to believe. So instead Lucas had the idea of using a trained monkey to play Yoda instead.

Really?

You’re worried about the believability of a puppet but you thought a monkey in makeup would work?

But this is no joke. As you can see in the image above the monkey had a very rubbery mask he was to wear on his face and had even been taught to walk around carrying Yoda’s old cane to boot before common sense stepped in and the plan was scrapped.

Let’s think about this for a second and all the awesome potential that was left on the table with this decision. Can you imagine Yoda effortlessly swinging from the trees and vines of Dagobah when Luke first arrives in Empire Strikes Back? Yoda annoying climbing all over Mark Hamill while filming? Yoda cooking sharing his bananas with Luke instead of that nasty looking stew? Yoda throwing his poop? Or that tiny little monkey at the head of the Jedi council and fighting Palpatine in the prequels?

cgi yoda

Just kidding. We all know in the prequels Lucas would have made Yoda a CGI monkey.

Did you know? Yoda’s distinctive speech pattern is based on Object Subject Verb (OSV) languages, the types that scientists believe were the first to evolve from early man nearly 50,000 years ago and is also how children learn to talk.

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  • James

    Here is another fun fact: the exhaust port WAS shielded. xD They had ray shields, which stopped laser cannon fire. That’s why they had to use proton torpedoes, which were much harder to use.

    • I didn’t know that! That’s a good one and a valid #11 fact! 😉 Thanks!