WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, in theaters now.
Director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi features a mind-blowing cameo that was somehow kept under wraps. Well, mostly.
Yoda, the legendary Jedi Master, makes a surprise appearance in the eighth chapter of the Skywalker Saga. Of course, he wasn't seen in his physical form, as he passed away peacefully in 1983's Return of the Jedi. Instead, he shows up as a Force ghost.
Throughout the bulk of The Last Jedi, Luke Skywalker denies Rey's requests to help her understand the Force and train her to understand the way of the Jedi. Living in self-imposed exile on Ahch-To, he's determined for the Jedi Order to come to an end, as he proclaimed in the film's trailers. However, just as he's about to burn the ancient books that document the history and teachings of the Jedi, Yoda arrives to provide some much-needed clarity.
While Luke was correct about the Jedi legacy being built on failure, the order is still a symbol of hope to those across the galaxy -- and there's still a role for Jedi in the universe. After a touching and funny conversation between the two masters, Luke is spurred to do the right thing in the film's final act.
A Force ... WHAT?
So, what is a Force ghost? It's basically the soul and essence of someone connected to the Force who passed away. Character can become Force ghost when they deny the will of the Force upon their deaths, allowing them to interact with the living -- although, not usually on the physical plane.
Typically, Jedi leave their physical presence upon their death and become fully one with the Force, although some had learned how to separate their being from the Force for a while. That then means they can interact with those in the physical world as a spiritual entity, retaining most of the traits and characteristics they had when they were living.
In the case of Yoda in The Last Jedi, he obviously knew how to stop himself from being entirely forged with the Force after his physical being grew tired in Return of the Jedi. He was about 900 years old, after all.
Force ghosts are nothing new in the world of Star Wars, of course. Once Yoda's physical presence was no more, Luke Skywalker spoke to the Force ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
There Were Hints
Eagle-eyed fans would have expected Yoda's big return to the Star Wars franchise, as there were several hints and leaks ahead of The Last Jedi's release. For example, Digital Sputnik, company that specializes in lighting equipment for movies, posted a now-removed Facebook status that noted, "We've just realized we have illuminated Jesus and Yoda." The company worked on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so it already had a relationship with Disney and Lucasfilm.
Another potential spoiler came from actor Frank Oz, who gave a suspicious non-answer when questioned whether Yoda would return. "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," he said in March. "I love Yoda. I would be happy to talk to you about it at the time they let me."
So, no, he didn't reveal the character's return, but he also didn't deny it. He simply refused to answer the question, which is almost as good as a "yes." The way he worded his answer was an admission that the studio had asked him to remain quiet about the topic, which is even more suspicious in itself.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Benicio Del Toro as ‘DJ’, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, and the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. The film is in theaters worldwide.