*Note: this post contains mild ‘The Mandalorian’ spoilers.
If you like Star Wars, or have seen any Disney advertising for that new Mandalorian show, then you probably know who Yoda is. Honestly, the whole backwards grammar and gremlin looking face are pretty iconic. Even if you know nothing about Star Wars, you likely know of Master Yoda. But when it comes to the silver screen, we’ve only ever seen one of Yoda’s species. Given that the Star Wars universe has a lot of other aliens, why have we only ever seen one Yoda? What species is Yoda, exactly?
So we know Disney made a sweeping Thanos-like snap to the expanded universe of Star Wars once they acquired the rights to it. This was likely an effort to flex their new ownership, but it was also probably because the expanded universe is kind of a mess of stories that would have written future Star Wars media into a corner. It was also super confusing. Plus, a lot of significant characters had already died, or had faced so many tragedies that they were no longer that interesting. Basically, it was pretty over-saturated.
Of course, many fans were disappointed that Disney essentially threw away a very large portion of the Star Wars canon. Even more so after some of the new Disney Star Wars films haven’t quite lived up to expectations (looking at you The Last Jedi). There’s nothing we can really do about that though. We just wanted you to know that some information in this post will be designated “non-canon” by Disney. It’s not our fault. Blame the mouse.
What Species Is Yoda?
The Films | What Disney Acknowledges
Alright, skip this section if you haven’t seen the first two episodes of The Mandalorian, we may spoil the like… Two things that happened in those episodes (the show has been a kind of slow burn so far).
We’re talking about the The Mandalorian because the first episode reveals what seems to be a baby Yoda. The assumption is only made because outside of this little baby we’ve only ever seen one other member of Yoda’s species. In fairness, the subtitles refer to the cute little bugger as “The Child,” so perhaps this could be another member of Yoda’s species. We’re saying “Yoda’s species” because the established Disney Star Wars canon does not acknowledge a name for it.
Anyway the baby is supposed to be like 50 years old in The Mandalorian. Fans quickly dubbed the child “Baby Yoda”, but timeline issues would suggest that this little dude isn’t actually the Yoda. The show is set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. And spoiler alert (for a really old movie, we guess), the 900 year-old Yoda dies at the end of it.
But back to Yoda’s species–that’s all we really know from the Disney canon. No species name is ever established in the original trilogy, nor the three prequel films. The only other time we see a member of Yoda’s species is Yaddle, who appears in The Phantom Menace. She kind of just exists as a member of the Jedi Council. Though she does die in the expanded universe, before the Clone Wars begin.
Expanded Universe aka Star Wars Legends
Apparently, Yoda’s first name was “Minch” when George Lucas originally pitched the idea. Luckily that was 100% vetoed hardcore. But Minch does live on as one of the few other members of Yoda’s species in the Star Wars expanded universe. You can actually count on your fingers just how many Star Wars characters are members of Yoda’s species. And none of them help answer our initial question. Plus, Yoda and Yaddle are the only real “canon” members, and Yaddle only kind of. She’s just kinda there in the movies. You probably didn’t remember her until you saw the post.
Anyway, the long story short is that there’s literally no canon name for Yoda’s species, nor is there a non-canon name. That’s right. Nobody knows what species Yoda is. Maybe we could make up a name? Gollum? Kermit? Let’s get some weird copyright shenanigans going.
In fairness, there has been speculation that Yoda is a member of the Whills, though they’re more of a community than an entire species. George Lucas denied the idea anyway, since the Whills are basically the Force. Something about midi-chlorians and whatnot. Remember those?
Want to learn how to talk like Yoda? Well here you go.