WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Special story, "The Trials of Dagobah," from Marc Guggenheim, Andrea Broccardo and Dono-Sanchez Almara, on sale now.
In the Star Wars franchise, as deep as the saga has gotten with the Skywalker family, Jedi Knights, the Sith and a new era of rebels, we've never really had that much insight into Master Yoda apart from his interactions with the council.
The Empire Strikes Back was actually the most intimate Yoda story, but it was still all about Luke Skywalker being groomed as a savior. However, courtesy of Marvel's Age of Rebellion Special, we now learn Yoda's deepest, darkest secret, and it's one he harbored following the fall of the Republic in Revenge of the Sith.
Yoda went into exile after Order 66 was executed, which saw Emperor Palpatine rise up and turn the Galactic Republic into the Empire. But when Luke came to Dagobah to train, we didn't know much about Yoda except he regretted how the Sith extinguished his warriors' flames.
But in this issue, set just before Luke arrives, it's revealed in the wake of defeat, Yoda wanted the Jedi Order to come to an end, as he felt it didn't achieve its true purpose. In fact, Yoda thought they enabled the Sith's victory and failed to bring balance to the Force. Most notably, his stance shockingly mirrors what an older Luke went through in The Last Jedi.
As Yoda forages and endures tribulations to survive on Dagobah, we see him falling in a cave, with rocks collapsing on top of him. He's experiencing PTSD flashbacks of fighting Palpatine, reminding him of the Jedi's failures and why he had to go into hiding.
Ultimately, this is why he became a recluse. Yoda considered himself the last Jedi and went to Dagobah praying Obi-Wan and the survivors would renounce their faith. Most importantly, when Yoda died, he wanted the Order to perish with him too.
It's a very tragic penance, but again, parallels are drawn to the self-punishment, torture and overall isolation Luke subjected himself to on the oceanic planet, Ahch-To. In Yoda's case, the desolate Dagobah reflects the bleakness he feels inside and why he swears off his Jedi ways, particularly the use of a lightsaber. Yoda thinks this represents the Force's instrument of destruction, something embodied by Luke when he tossed away his own when Rey presented it to him.
In his sombre adventures, Yoda's resigned to the harsh reality of the situation -- the Jedi doomed the galaxy. All of this contemplation occurs moments prior to Luke arriving in his X-Wing on the advice of Obi-Wan's ghost, so it's effectively a deleted scene right after A New Hope. It's also very fitting, because he senses Luke as "a new hope," framing why he took on the boy at a time when he felt the Jedi was a poison coursing through the veins of the cosmos.
Luke wasn't just a prospect to train, he was salvation. Not just for the galaxy, but for the Order itself. Sadly, Luke ended up following Yoda's path to a tee, with Kylo Ren more or less becoming the future version of Order 66, but we now understand why Yoda was so eager to burn the sacred tree and finally write the Jedi off as a failed experiment.
He wanted change, and this is why he facilitated Luke and Rey moving past the symbol of the Jedi decades later. Yoda knew the texts would pave the way for a new philosophy in fresh hands, and back-to-back failures with him and Luke meant enough was enough. With Rey entering the fray, Yoda finally got the chance to see his dream come true. That is, the Jedi ending to give birth to something more virtuous and fair.