If you are a Star Wars fanatic like myself, you are probably still not over what went down in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Episode VI). Yes, I’m talking about the death of Yoda. I mean, it made no sense at all. The legendary Jedi Master who lived through the rise and fall of the Galactic Republic dies just like that? Bear with me, guys. I just binged the entire season 2 of The Mandalorian, so I’m a little emotional. That’s why I’m taking this time to revisit the death of Yoda and clear up any confusion surrounding this unfortunate turn of events. Buckle up, fellow Star Wars fans. Let’s jump right in:
How did Yoda die? Well, the consensus in the Star Wars universe is that Yoda physically died of old age in Return of the Jedi. Yoda was 900 years old and knew it was time and, therefore, chose that particular moment to turn into a spirit and become part of the Force. That’s why he disappeared the moment he died.
As it turns out, old age is unforgiving even for a powerful grandmaster of the Jedi order. The profoundly moving scene in the Return of the Jedi was very confusing to many Star Wars fans. Some things weren’t clear. For instance, did Yoda really die, or did he just disappear into the Force? Should we expect the powerful Jedi master to make a comeback? Oh, so many questions. But wait, there’s more. We know Yoda could have lived a little longer if he wanted to, so why did he choose to die at that particular moment in Return of the Jedi? I’m going to try and answer all these questions in the following sections. Keep reading.
How Did Yoda Die?
One of the most popular Star Wars characters, Yoda, is a Force-sensitive male creature belonging to a mysterious species. There’s little to no information regarding the origins of this mighty creature. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, hasn’t been forthcoming when it comes to details about Yoda’s race or where he comes from. He once made a joke about Yoda being the lovechild of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy — yeah, I know, not funny.
Yoda died in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi supposedly of old age, he was 900 years old, but there’s more to the story.
So, What Really Killed Yoda?
Yoda was 900 years old, which is very old even by alien standards, and could have easily died of natural causes. But that’s not what actually killed him. He could have held on for a little longer if he wanted to but chose not to. So, what made him choose to die at that particular moment? There are three possible explanations as to why Yoda chose death in that specific moment. The first one is to teach Luke a lesson. I know, it doesn’t sound like a good enough reason for Yoda to let himself die when the galaxy needed him the most.
Luke was still afraid of death and losing those he loves as he set out on his last quest to become a Jedi. Yoda wanted to teach Luke not to fear the death of the body because it’s not permanent, and that all life will return to the Force.
The second possible reason why Yoda let himself die was that he wanted to strengthen the Light Side of the Force and help Luke defeat the emperor.
The third possible explanation for why Yoda could no longer live has to do with his profound connection with the Force and how the dominance of the dark side was draining his strength. We need to take into account that Yoda was living in exile in the remote, swamp covered world of Dagobah, which had a natural connection to the dark side. Living on a planet that was emitting dark side energy heavily, combined with the dominance of the dark side throughout the Empire, was quickly draining his strength and was going to kill him sooner or later. As you can see, Yoda needed to die to ensure Luke’s victory over Vader and the Dark Side. Luke was able to defeat Vader and turn him back to the light side of the Force. Yoda’s death was instrumental for Luke’s triumph over Vader and the emperor.
Did Yoda Really Die?
Yoda dies in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. But does he really? Yes, he dies, but it’s not a conventional death. He died in the sense that he no longer held the physical form in that particular dimension. Yoda’s crude matter body was worn out and tired after 900 years and would have eventually succumbed to old age, but he managed to avoid that. He did not die; he transitioned to his luminous form and disappeared to become one with the Force. He managed to retain his consciousness without a physical presence by turning into a force spirit thanks to the techniques passed on to him by the spirit of Qui-Gon Jinn.
It’s not the first time Star Wars fans have seen characters pass on to join the Force. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Yoda was able to transcend death and pass onto the Force. Yoda introduces us to ‘a way to cheat death’ at the end of Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. Obi-Wan and Yoda were able to learn from Qui-Gon Jinn on how to become part of the Force, and therefore, join the Force as Spirit Guides. In Episode 6: Return of the Jedi, Yoda does not really die but becomes part of ‘the Force’, much like Obi-Wan did in Episode 4: A New Hope.
What’s Yoda’s Legacy?
Yoda spent 800 years of his life training and teaching generations of Jedi and was revered for his wisdom. Yoda was extremely powerful and accomplished in the Force despite his small size and old age. He was highly skilled in all forms of telekinesis. He was able to repel every metal piece of slab thrown to him by the highly skilled Sith Lord using his telekinetic mastery. Sporting a short green-bladed lightsaber, Yoda was also a very skilled lightsaber duellist despite his small stature. Yoda’s lightsaber skills were on display when he duelled Dooku and Darth Sidious. But despite all his physical abilities and combat skills, it was Yoda’s connection to the Force that made him truly special.
Yoda had numerous supplemental abilities thanks to his powerful connection to the Force and hundreds of years of training. Let’s not forget that he was able to cheat death by learning how to maintain consciousness after death, something only a few others were able to achieve. We came to learn that Yoda could simply touch a force user to uncover their alignment in the trial of Quinlan Vos. Yoda was also able to maintain mental contact with Jedi temples across the galaxy while in exile in Dagobah. Yoda remained powerful even in his death. When he joined the Force to become a force spirit, Yoda was able to manipulate the weather and create or summon lightning strikes at will.
Is Baby Yoda (The Mandalorian) Actually Yoda?
A lot of Star Wars fans are wondering whether the fictional character from the Star Wars Disney+ original television series The Mandalorian is actually Yoda. The popular TV series is set after 1983’s Return of the Jedi, so he isn’t really a younger Yoda as some of you were probably thinking. It’s not likely that the character only referred to as The Child on the TV series is the reincarnation of Yoda. So, who is he? We don’t know. It’s possible that Yoda knew about the existence of The Child before his death and ordered his protection. The child is 50 years old, which means he is still a baby due to his kind’s slower ageing process.
This means that The Child is around the same age as Anakin Skywalker and has been around throughout the Star Wars story. All the three members of Yoda’s alien race: Yoda, Yaddle, and Baby Yoda, are short, carnivorous, and powerful force users. Jedi Master is a member of the Jedi High Council in the era of the Galactic Republic while Yaddle is a Force-sensitive female of the same species as Grand Master Yoda. The franchise creator is notorious for keeping the species’ unknown to maintain an air of mystery around the characters. Therefore, it may be a while before we know the full story of Baby Yoda.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.