Here is an interesting idea: Our wrinkly green Muppet friend is not an alien as he appears to be. Instead, he is fully human. His wrinkled green appearance is a side effect of one of a Jedi's powers: lifespan extension.

Yoda started out 100% normal human Jedi, but The Force takes a price for extended life. He became small, wrinkly, and green. Perhaps his strange grammar is also a side effect, or maybe it is just an eccentricity that developed after 900 years.

Probably, not many Jedi chose this path. First off there is the obvious problem of becoming a Muppet. Secondly, it is probably frowned upon by the Jedi Council - a Jedi is supposed to accept death so that he can become a specter/disembodied voice. Yoda, however has a good excuse. He needed to stick around to train Luke Skywalker. Notice how Yoda dies as soon as he finishes with Luke.

I do have three pieces of evidence to present for my argument:
  • Skip to the end of The Phantom Menace, to the celebration on Naboo (don't worry, you're not missing much.) There will be a shot of the Jedi delegation, including Yoda, and behind him, a guy who looks to be half-human half-Yoda. Perhaps he is only 500 years or so old.
  • Observe the disfiguration of the Emperor's skin. This could be the early stages of Jedi lifespan extension. You could make a claim that that is just the corruption of being a Dark Jedi, but Vader's skin, while pale and sickly from being in the suit all the time, is not disfigured in the same way.
  • "When 900 years you reach, look as good you will not!" - said to Luke. Is this implying that Luke could also live to be 900?
Yoda seems to be the favorite character for many throughout the Star Wars series. He makes his first appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, where he lives in the Dagobah system on a forest planet.

For our Non-Spoiler audience:

A cute fuzzy greenish brown creature from Star Wars. A Jedi Master who teaches Luke Skywalker the Force. He's very wise, but talks seemingly backwards, verb first and noun last.He teaches Luke to be a Jedi and learn The Force. He also drops pearls of wisdom such as "do or do not, there is no try."

Yoda's voice is played by Frank Oz. Yoda seems to be an icon of wisdom, like a fortune cookie.

There's an amusing parody of him in Spaceballs, played by Mel Brooks as Yougart, who has the mystical power The Schwartz. There's also a Yoda Pez dispenser out there.

From here on there are Spoilers ahead but only if you haven't seen the original trilogy. Episodes 4, 5, and 6.

Luke Skywalker lands on the planet, apparently in a swampland. The first thing he meets is this really short green ...thing. Whatever he is, he walks with a cane, and has a voice not unlike Fozzy bear and Animal, two other Muppets. Think Mr. Miyagi, but a foot and a half tall. He speaks enigmatically, in riddles or backwards.

Luke ignores this creature on the first impression, instead scouting for signs of intelligent life. This being meanwhile seems interested in poking around Luke's food and first aid kit. R2-D2 eventually zaps him and beeps angrily, implying "Put that Breadstick down, Muppet!" Meanwhile Luke tells him he's searching for a Jedi Master. Immediately he perks up, saying he knows where Yoda is and will take him there. Luke eventually gets impatient, until the green alien talks to Obi-Wan Kenobi's spirit in The Force. Obi-wan argues with Yoda, which is when Luke catches on. This 900-year old wise being knows it all.

He immediately begins to learn from the Jedi Master. Aside from the physical training, he learns to attune his power in The Force, helping him concentrate. Eventually Luke focuses enough to stand on his head while holding Yoda's weight and balancing rocks in the air.

Luke's power really comes to the test when his X-Wing ship sinks into the swamp. Yoda tells him to use the force to lift it, but he can't, the stones were hard enough. "You ask the impossible." Yoda counters saying that he could do it if only he had faith. The force is surrounding them. Yoda chose to live on that planet because it has abundant life, surrounding himself in the Force (and midichlorians?).

With that, Yoda, little more than a foot tall, closes his eyes, extends his arm, and lifts the massive spacecraft out of the water.

Luke learns much from Master Yoda, who becomes his trainer, without time for apprenticeship. He teaches Luke the danger of the dark side of the Force. Yoda taught Obi-Wan all about the force.

Luke:"I'm not afraid"
Yoda:"You will be"

It's clear that Yoda knows it all. He knows who Luke's father is, who can replace Luke if he fails, and communicates with Obi-Wan. When he dies, he vanishes, becoming one with the Force.

People seem to like Yoda and Chewbacca as their favorite characters. Yoda shows up as being mysterious, creepy even, with a cantankerous mood before you get to know him. Weird Al once made a song about him, called Y.O.D.A.

Post-The Phantom Menace Spoilers:

Yoda is on the Jedi council. He is still close to 900 years old, speaks backwards, and has the now-second highest midichlorians count (second only to Anakin Skywalker). He is aware of the dark side of the force, and how it clouds everything. All you do is see him talk, sitting cross-legged.

Yoda:"How feel you?"
Yoda:"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to pain. Pain leads to suffering."

His role in this movie was diminished. All you know is that sometime between episodes 1 and 4 he will go into seclusion (to escape Darth Vader's annihilation of all Jedi) to Dagobah.

All that changes in...

Attack of the Clones!

Warning- Don't read this if you haven't seen it. No, even if you don't plan to, don't. You'll wind up seeing it sooner or later, because it's just such an amazing film. Yoda made this movie Fscking Awesome. I consider him the main reason to reccomend the flick. If you read the rest of this writeup, you will lose all the sense of utter disbelief and that cool feeling when watching an amazing fight scene like The Matrix. You have been warned.

Yoda is back, he's CGI, meaning he can walk, talk and make better faces. But even better, he's one of the Stars. Forget Whats-his-name and Who's-her-face, Yoda is an action hero, a spiritual guide as the universe crumbles. In all the other movies you see him as being the calm, feeble, meditative one, but in this one, he kicks major butt. With a lightsaber.

He's on the Jedi council, and he senses danger from The Dark Side. He can sense Anakin Skywalker's pain and anguish from accross the galaxy. Skip to around the end of the movie, and he leaves to see what's going on with the Clone army. I'm skipping the plot to the good stuff. When all the Jedi are surrounded by thousands of robots, about to be slaughtered, Yoda shows up with a fleet of Clones in hoverships, blasting the 'Bots. "Around the survivors a perimeter create!" he commands, making the audience cringe/laugh.

He leads the troops, telling them which starships to destroy, until he decides to chase Count Dooku himself.

Fast forward again. We see Obi-wan and Anakin both on the ground, down for the count. The Count looks like he's getting away, and with the Death Star plans in his pocket. Yoda walks in, slowly, with a cane. Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) lets slip that he was Yoda's apprentice once.

Okay, who here saw the first part of Lord of the Rings? Hands, anyone? Good. Christopher Lee was in that too, and gets into an incredibly cool Wizard fight. This...was cooler. Oh so much cooler. I feel like a 12-year old again just recalling the spectacular scene, girlishly flushed with excitement.

Dooku uses the force to yank off huge canisters from the walls and hurls them at Yoda. Yoda is this 900-year old Jedi master, he grimaces as he uses the strength of the force to deflect the objects flying at him. Dooku uses the force to crack the stones above Yoda, bringing part of the cave to collapse on him. Yoda clenches his fists, and stones twice his size stop inches above him, then are pushed away by Yoda's mighty will. Dooku throws bolts of energy from his fingertips, hurling towards Yoda. Yoda is also strong, his Good Side of the Force cancels out the Dark side, throwing the bolts back at him.

"It appears we are evenly matched in our knowledge of the force," Dooku says. "It appears we shall have to settle this with a duel of Lightsabers." I'm paraphrasing here, but I forget the wording. Just keep reading.

Dooku activates his red lightsaber. Yoda rids himself of his cane, moves his tunic out of the way, and the lightsaber flies from his belt to his hand. Badass, yeah.

He flicks it on, with a green beam to counter the Red evil. Instantly, the sabers clash. Yoda runs, RUNS at him, and they battle. He dodges, swerves, and jumps. Flips. Sidesteps. Thrusts and parries several times in one sweep. Faster than Blade, Highlander, The Matrix. The crackle as the beams clash becomes so frequent that it's hard to tell when one ends and another begins. The whole theater was astonished.

Now you finally see why Yoda was so respected as the Jedi Master. You can't even see him moving, he's a blur. His green lightsaber moves in a blur, attacking from one side to another in a blink of an instant. Smashing from the top then cutting through from the bottom. He flips through the air, wizzing at Dooku like an angry bee, flying from one side to the other. Was he floating? He leaps up, kicks off the wing, rebounds off the wall, and comes at Dooku sideways.

He nearly wins, but Dooku plays dirty. He uses his Force to bring down a massive structural column upon our fallen companions, and Yoda stops fighting long enough to stop the momentum of this gargantuan piece of steel. With all his effort, he stops the beam from killing the Jedi, hovering it in midair. He moves it far away, and lets it drop to the ground, Yoda exhausted. There are some people wondering why Yoda didn't just yank them out of the way, but that's a different topic.

The Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back and the Yoda from Attack of the Clones seem very different. There must be something that will happen in Episode 3 that will make him retreat like that, even with the great Jedi purge looming.

Thanks to Mr H@ppy, nebuchadnezzar, and Muse for the tips.

Shro0m says I think one of the books or something explains why yoda 'retires' to dagobah sometime during episode three. lotsa bad stuff has to happen in the next one...and I like to call atoc ... "the YODA strikes back" (biatch!)  

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