The introduction of "Baby Yoda" in The Mandalorian captured the hearts of Star Wars devotees and casual fans alike. This unnamed infant has piqued the interest of viewers hoping to learn more about the mysterious species that has only appeared a few times in the official Star Wars canon. Fans and general audiences are well aware of Yoda, who has made major appearances in all three Star Wars trilogies, but there is another. There is Yaddle.
Yaddle was first introduced in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace as a member of the Jedi Council. She is the only female and, until the child in The Mandalorian, the only known member of the species other than Yoda. While many background characters in the prequel trilogy were explored on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Yaddle was omitted. In canon, it is said that she was no longer a member of the Jedi Council by the time of the Clone Wars.
So, was Yaddle just ignored by writers in favor of keeping the mystery of Yoda's species? Or is there more to her story that could be explored in future canon material?
Star Wars Movies Yaddle, Explained
There is little information available about Yaddle in the official Star Wars canon. Apart from her appearance in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and its adaptations, Yaddle has only been mentioned in the novel Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray and the recently released video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. What little is known about her in canon mostly comes from reference books and character encyclopedias.
Since Lucasfilm reset the Star Wars canon in 2014, classifying any previous materials as "Legends," most reference sources have been considered official canon. However, there have been cases in which reference books have been contradicted by recent shows, comics, novels, or movies. Therefore, while Yaddle's background covered here is technically canon, it hasn't been shown in any actual story material, so it could be retconned in the future.
Yaddle was born about 509 years before the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. This makes her around 477 years old when she left the Jedi Council after the Battle of Naboo in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Her seat was given to Jedi Master Shaak Ti, who would hold it through the Clone Wars. Prior to joining the council, Yaddle trained fellow council member, Oppo Rancisis.
Yaddle was known as one of the wisest, and quietest, members of the Jedi Council. She was patient and kind, which earned her permission to practice some of the most unknown and deadly Jedi powers, including morichro. This technique allowed a Jedi to slow down the bodily functions of their opponent to the point of death. Like Yoda, Yaddle wielded a green-bladed lightsaber.
This is all that is really known about Yaddle's life in the current canon. In Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith #25, Darth Vader encountered and killed her in a vision, but no stories or reference books have covered her life after she stepped away from the Jedi Council. It's possible she was a survivor of Order 66 and, given her species' long lifespan, could still be alive by the events of the current trilogy.
For any more information on Yaddle we will have to refer to the Legends continuity.
Star Wars Legends Yaddle, Explained
Yaddle appeared in a few comics and novels in what's now considered "Star Wars Legends." These stories cover a lot more of her time on the Jedi Council, as well as the period before and after.
Almost 300 years before she was on the council, Yaddle was the padawan to Jedi Knight Polvin Kut. While on a mission with her master to the planet Koba, the two Jedi were betrayed and ambushed by the Advozse warlord known as Tulak. Kut, whose family was murdered by the Advozse, was killed when he attempted to take revenge on Tulak, leaving his padawan to be captured. Yaddle was subjected to various forms of torture and interrogation before the Advozse finally left Koba. Before leaving, Tulak imprisoned Yaddle in an underground pit, leaving her to die.
Yaddle remained in her underground prison for over a century, where she became known as the "One Below." She was kept alive and fed as a sort of ritual by the Kobans until she eventually had an opportunity to escape. Massive earthquakes across the planet caused an avalanche which opened Yaddle's cell. She emerged to find the Kobans decimated by the natural disasters. Yaddle stayed on Koba to help the civilization rebuild, having long since forgiven the past generations that kept her imprisoned.
Yaddle returned to the Jedi Council and was granted a seat and the rank of Master, having achieved unity with the force while in captivity. She trained dozens of Jedi while on the council and led many off-world missions. She sacrificed her life on a mission to restore peace to the planet Mawan. By using the force, Yaddle absorbed a bioweapon released on the people of Mawan, which killed her instantly at the age of 483.
Yaddle could finally make a return to canon, now that her and Yoda's species returned in The Mandalorian. With such a robust backstory in Legends, writers have a lot to draw from and could find a way to maintain much of her original story. Lucasfilm may also choose to continue ignoring her, and let "Baby Yoda" be the future of that species in the Star Wars universe. For now, we can only look back at Yaddle as one of the weirder and surprisingly interesting characters in the galaxy.