A new Star Wars comic will delve into Yoda’s past. SlashFilm reports that Issue 26 in the continuing Marvel Star Wars comic series will feature a flashback into Yoda’s history. Not long after the destruction of the first Death Star, Luke Skywalker finds a copy of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s journals. This opening provides the story wrap-around in which the flashbacks occur.
SlashFilm writer Peter Sciretta is interested in the timeline, canon, and storytelling implications of this choice. He also wonders if it could have an effect on a rumored Star Wars movie that would also focus on Yoda.
“It’s interesting that Lucasfilm is allowing for us to explore an earlier time period. I also wonder if having a younger Yoda storyline in the comics might mean that they are no longer developing a Yoda standalone film, as Lucasfilm usually likes to space their new canonized expanded universe from the new film projects as to prevent any possible toes from being stepped on.”
— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) September 19, 2016
In an interview with writer Dan Brooks on the official Star Wars website, Marvel writer Jason Aaron, who is helming the comic series, went into details about what fans can expect. He was interested in exploring what an earlier version of the character would be like.
“The challenge was to do something with Yoda that we hadn’t seen before. I really wanted to see just what it was like when Yoda was going out into the galaxy and being a Jedi. This story takes place before the Clone Wars and it’s set in a world we’ve never seen before. I was always just intrigued by that idea. You know, we’ve seen Yoda as the teacher, as the wise Jedi Master, but I wanted to see Yoda just as the Jedi. So this puts him on a very unusual adventure. The other big challenge with Yoda, of course, is finding something that’s a challenge for him, right? Who can pose a threat to Yoda? I think we came up with an interesting answer to that question. That’s part of the mystery of this story.”
The versions of Yoda seen on the screen in the Star Wars movies have generally been of him as the elder wise warrior. In his first screen appearance, in The Empire Strikes Back, he is portrayed as an aging, but still very perceptive mentor to Luke Skywalker as he learns the ways of the Force.
The Star Wars prequel films showed a slightly younger Yoda with a position of authority on the Jedi Council. The upcoming comic teases a Yoda even younger than that, with the interesting storytelling possibilities that come along with it. He will not be a Master Jedi, just a Jedi, still learning to fully attune to the Force.
The current Star Wars Marvel comic takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, so Yoda is still a mystery to Luke at this point. Brooks notes that “the general idea of the arc is that Luke is reading Obi-Wan’s journals, and he’s reading about a legendary Jedi Master, but he doesn’t know that he’s reading about Yoda.”
Aaron comments that the flashback structure allows for tying together multiple characters over different timelines while keeping Luke Skywalker as the main character of the comic.
“We’re a bit hamstrung in terms of the time period of our main story, because Yoda’s chilling on Dagobah. So this was kind of the only way we could kill all those birds with one stone — to do one story that connects Luke, Yoda, and Obi-Wan all at the same time, while still taking place in three different time periods.”
— Star Wars (@starwars) September 18, 2016
Brooks asks Aaron exactly when the plot will take place, and if it would occur before the first prequel film, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
“I don’t know if we’ve put a pin in exactly when it takes place. It does take place before Phantom Menace. We do get a brief appearance by Qui-Gon and young Obi-Wan, so that’ll probably help date it.”
A follow-up conversation on Twitter between Brooks and Star Wars fan Steve Tilly uncovered that this might possibly be one of the first stories set in this time-frame.
— Dan Brooks (@dan_brooks) September 16, 2016
Time-frames and canon are a tricky thing in a mythology as huge as Star Wars. Since the ownership of Star Wars changed hands, many previous stories in what is known as the Expanded Universe, the tales told in ancillary (non-movie) Star Wars products, were effectively de-canonized. Those stories were re-titled as Star Wars Legends. Given that, it is a unique development to see the new Star Wars comic returning to the more distant past. Sciretta explains how recent stories have avoided most plots outside the original cinematic trilogy.
“When Disney purchased Lucasfilm, the expanded universe became ‘Legends,’ leaving only the six theatrical live-action Star Wars films and the Clone Wars animated series as canon. Over the last couple years, we’ve added a bunch of books, comic books, a video game and the Star Wars Rebels animated series to the mix. But the earliest any of this material takes us is a handful of years before A New Hope. Most of the comics are set in the time between the original film and The Empire Strikes Back, while the books have mainly been focusing on the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. So it’s interesting that Star Wars canon will finally explore an earlier period.”
Some fans may be upset to see Legends-era stories about Yoda potentially disrupted, while others may be pleased to see the backstory told in a new way. What do you think? Leave a comment below.
[Featured Image by Lucasfilm/Marvel]