Saturday, 7 April 2012


Long time reader Ben Diaz sent in some nice pics of Yoda from the 2007 California Science Centre STAR WARS exhibit that I thought would be fun to post- according to the exhibition info, this is the original on-screen used puppet. However, its inclusion within that prior tour clashes with information recently presented on the Blu-rays which used a different model of Yoda in its behind the scenes extras guide, with accompanying caption info stating that the original on-screen puppet had long since deteriorated and couldn't be used for image reference on the Blu-ray release. For a deteriorated prop that 2007 Yoda looks pretty good to me!

So, what's going on here? I'm wondering if the Yoda at the 2007 exhibit was the puppet that Stuart Freeborn created for JEDI, and not EMPIRE (a separate puppet that, according to production info of 1982, was completed by Freeborn the night before the required filming of Monday 8th April). But that Yoda, specially made to look older than the one in EMPIRE, also had some on-set eye troubles that aren't noticeable in these pictures.

If anyone has any ideas/answers on this continuing mystery, then please get in touch...

With thanks to Ben Diaz for the pics and info.

UPDATE 7/4/2012: J.W. Rinzler talks about the rediscovery of the "original" Yoda puppet at the LUCASFILM ARCHIVES here: Exclusive: J.W. Rinzler on 'The Making Of Return Of The Jedi' and more - Shadowlocked

Ian Trussler got in touch with this to say: 

This Yoda puppet has been doing the rounds of various Lucasfilm exhibits since the very first Art of SW that premiered in San Francisco back in 94/95. I went to this and it was very early in the exhibit and close to Vader.
Prior to being exhibited it used to be on display in the main entrance to the main house at Skywalker Ranch and goes back there I believe when not travelling. Apparently one of Georges favourite things.
From research my understanding is this, it is an original trilogy Yoda, they state used in Empre on all the exhibits. However it has been reconditioned, many years ago, with new molding done by Charlie Bailey and paint work by Nelson Hall. The costume and prop stuff like his little flute necklace are all originals.
I have a bunch of different pics from over the years and different shows and it always appears the same. It is in a sealed dome case so presumably is not deteriorating anymore as not exposed to the air.

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