While Frank Oz did return to reprise Yoda in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was a voice only performance. We didn't get to actually see the Jedi Master. That may change in Star Wars: Episode VIII. Making Star Wars has confirmed the actor and puppeteer is heading to Pinewood Studios in the U.K. to visit the set of this sequel, which is now in production. But they're not sure why he'll be there, or if it means that Yoda will be making an appearance.
Adding just a little bit of validity to the idea that we might see Yoda again is the rumor that the Ahch-To sets have been recreated to accommodate a puppet (or Muppet, if you will). Ahch-To is the planet where Jedi Master Luke Skywalker now resides in his hidden Jedi Temple. The exteriors of the location where shot on Skellig Michael Island in Ireland, but the location has also been reconstructed in studio at Pinewood.
This latest report claims that Frank Oz is either already in the U.K. or flying there sometime this week. He will be in the country to work, but it has not been confirmed if he is working specifically on Star Wars: Episode VIII or just visiting the set while he's in the area. He is definitely not on a leisure or social trip.
Frank Oz voiced Yoda during the Rey flashback scene in Maz Kanata's Castle basement. The theory is that Force Ghost Yoda will be seen hanging out on Ahch-To with Rey and Luke, showing that Luke hasn't been entirely secluded this whole time he's been away from The Resistence and his friends. It's also possible that Frank Oz is coming to the set to serve as a consultant. Or perhaps he is playing an entirely new character.
The only known fact is that he'll be on the Star Wars: Episode VIII set sometime this week.The duration of his visit is not known at this time. Earlier this week, director Rian Johnson shared a photo from the set, showing Lupita Nyong'o in her motion-capture suit and Maz Kanata on the monitors. While that diminutive force sensitive creature is a CGI creation, this new trilogy is also incorporating plenty of puppets and other practical props during shooting.
That said, Yoda was a CGI creation in the prequel trilogy. So it will be interesting to see them go back to using the Yoda puppet. Yoda originally had a much bigger role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It would have just been a cameo, and the Jedi Master would have appeared as a Force Ghost. Frank Oz actually came in for a day, and did some work on the movie that went past just his few lines of dialogue. But what he actually created for the sequel has never been disclosed. What do you think? Excited about the prospects of seeing Yoda return in Star Wars: Episode VIII?