Yaddle first appeared on the screen in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. A member of the Jedi Council and the same species as Yoda, she was present when Qui-Gon Jinn brought news to the council about his encounter with a Sith Lord on Tatooine. We didn’t see Yaddle in the Star Wars movies after that, but now Tales of the Jedi shows more of her story and her death at the hands of Count Dooku. Director and actor Bryce Dallas Howard voices the character in the animated shorts, and we talked to Tales of the Jedi executive producer Dave Filoni about casting her as Yaddle and Yaddle’s final moments.
“Yaddle’s compassionate. Yaddle, up to the very end, is trying to give Dooku an out,” Filoni says. She discovers Count Dooku talking to Darth Sidious and processes the Jedi’s betrayal to the Order in the moment. But, as Filoni notes, she approaches her fellow Jedi with kindness. Yaddle tells Dooku she’s stepped down from the Council because she shares some of his concerns. Then she extends him a hand back towards the light. “She’s attempting to give him a way to just say, ‘I’m sorry,'” Filoni explains. “But there’s two sides of it there where she’s saying, ‘None of that matters. Just come with me now, and you can right this terrible wrong you’re about to do.’ And Sidious is like, ‘You can’t trust her. You know you can’t trust her. You came to me because you couldn’t trust them.'”
Count Dooku has to decide who to believe and whose vision bests aligns with his. He chooses Palpatine and by killing Yaddle, he seemingly crosses into the point of no return. Filoni says, “Yaddle has a great heart and she perseveres. And for a moment when she lifts the door, Dooku looks at her, and he sees the truth—the truth of what a powerful, good, benevolent person she is.”
Yaddle stood up to evil until the very end, which according to Filoni “is very Bryce.” He’s always trying to rope Howard in. “Bryce is a big fan of what we’ve done in animation over the years. I’d love to get her to direct something in animation,” Filoni says, “She loves Star Wars, she knows the world well. We’ve been in it together now for a while. I always see that first season of Mando with Bryce, Rick [Famuyiwa], Deb [Chow], and Taika [Waititi]—we were all working so much together simultaneously, and we have a first year bond. So, we’re always seeing each other and showing each other stuff. And I started working on these, and I thought, ‘Hey, you should do the voice of Yaddle. It’d be really fun. It’s not like a massive commitment, obviously, because I’ve got to kill her…'”
Howard was all for it. And they considered whether Yaddle should speak like Yoda. “Does she speak backwards? I’m like, ‘No, I don’t think so. I think that’s a Yoda thing'”, Filoni recalls. “Frank Oz told me once that Yoda speaks that way specifically in honor of his own master. That was what he had thought about it. I try to keep moving forward these thoughts. And Bryce on her own made a great Yaddle.”
Tales of the Jedi is streaming now on Disney+.