Lucasfilm’s upcoming publishing initiative Star Wars: The High Republic will take Star Wars fans back in time. The High Republic era is set some two hundred years before the events of The Phantom Menace. The stories that will unfold from multiple publishers in varying formats (comics, adult novels, and children’s books) focus on Jedi Knights of this time period. The Jedi aren’t burdened by the Clone Wars yet. Their numbers are large. It’s an opportunity to explore new characters and a different political environment. But we’ll see at least one familiar character: Yoda.
We know Yoda and others of his species have a long lifespan. Consider the 50-year-old toddler affectionately called Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian. Think about what Yoda told Luke in The Empire Strikes Back—that he trained Jedi for 800 years. So he’s around 700 years old during the time of the High Republic according to Lucasfilm art director Troy Alders. The wise Jedi will feature specifically in Daniel José Older’s Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures comic. IDW Publishing is releasing the series beginning in 2021, but we have a first look at younger Yoda concept art thanks to StarWars.com.
At first I thought Yoda looked the same as he does in the original trilogy. Iain McCaig, Jeff R. Thomas, and Grant Griffin worked on exploring this new Yoda look. Alders told StarWars.com, “His age, as far as the way that his hair and face look, is maybe just slightly younger, but fairly close to his look in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.”
I can see that this younger Yoda has less wrinkles. Something about his stance implies that he is lighter on his feet. And that’s good, because in Older’s story Yoda is traveling with Padawans as a teacher. Older says Yoda’s already a member of the Jedi Council, but he looks out for the younger Jedi-in-training whenever he can. This story has Yoda taking Padawans around the galaxy to give them hands-on training, which Older calls, “The Force study abroad program, basically.”
I know I’m not a Padawan, but I would like to sign up for that program please.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm
Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of The Jedi Mind, available for pre-order now. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.