Rumor of the Day: Could a certain Force ghost show up in The Last Jedi?

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Mar 14, 2017, 7:00 PM EDT

The actor who played a beloved member of the Jedi Order would neither confirm nor deny reports that he might show up in Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Filmmaker, actor and Muppets veteran Frank Oz was in Austin over the weekend at the South by Southwest music and film festival to promote his new documentary, Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched, when he was asked by Variety whether Yoda -- the diminutive Jedi master he voiced in six Star Wars films and puppeteered in four of them -- could make an appearance in the upcoming eighth installment in the saga, The Last Jedi.

His answer was ... vague:

"I feel like I'm a prisoner at war here, and I can only give you my name, rank and serial number. To be true to the people who asked me, and they are kind of my family, I have to say I've been asked not to talk about it. I love Yoda. I would be happy to talk to you about it at the time they let me."

The fact that Oz just didn't respond with a flat-out "no" and gave that tortured non-denial indicates that there's a good chance we might well see the little green guy in writer/director Rian Johnson's film. Of course, it won't be Yoda in the flesh, but rather his Force ghost, since the old fellow transitioned over to the Force in Return of the Jedi (bizarrely, his puppet in 1999's The Phantom Menace was far less impressive and lifelike than the one Oz worked in the original trilogy; Yoda then went all-digital for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith).

I have to confess I have not followed the rumors of a Yoda encore in The Last Jedi, but they are apparently out there and it would certainly not be unreasonable for Lucasfilm to want to engage in more needless fan service bring back a character that is so well-loved and could presumably play a role in anything having to do with the Jedi, the last one or otherwise.

Sadly, Sebastian Shaw, who played the dying Anakin Skywalker and his Force ghost at the end of Return of the Jedi -- before George Lucas rudely replaced him digitally with Hayden Christensen -- joined the Force himself way back in 1989. That means if any other Force ghosts come along for the ride with Yoda, Lucasfilm either pulls a Peter Cushing with Shaw or we get you-know-who ...

(via Birth.Movies.Death)