When audiences saw Rey take her first steps on the path to becoming a Jedi in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," they also heard a few familiar voices guiding her along the way. During her Force vision after she touches Luke Skywalker's lightsaber in Maz Kanata's castle, she hears Obi-Wan Kenobi and Master Yoda offering words of advice. The scene served as a great example of enjoyable fan service, but it also may turn out to be much more significant than that.
Though unconfirmed and completely unsubstantiated, a new rumor has emerged suggesting that Yoda could return in some form in "Star Wars: Episode VIII." This rumor comes from the news that Frank Oz, the voice and one-time puppeteer of Yoda, has been spotted at the Pinewood Studios in England. For those that don't know, the Pinewood Studios in England has served as the primary filming location for all seven "Star Wars" saga entries and it is where "Episode VIII" is currently being filmed as well.
So, is it possible that we have not yet seen the last of the Grand Master Jedi?
If true and Yoda does return in some form in "Episode VIII," it's also possible that Lucasfilm and director Rian Johnson will include other cameos of beloved characters of old. Separate rumors have hinted that both Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker could appear as Force ghosts in "Episode VIII." Of course, at some point fan-service does do discredit to the story at hand by distracting from what's ahead. But there's no doubt that brief cameos from these character would excite audiences the world over.
Frank Oz's return as Yoda would strengthen the connection between the original trilogy and the new one. Some who thought "The Force Awakens" was just a tad too similar to "A New Hope" (and weren't completely wrong) may be rankled by this approach, but it could work if handled carefully and with a light touch. But for now, all we know if Frank Oz showed up at Pinewood Studios. Who's to say he wasn't just grabbing a bite to eat with some old friends?
"Star Wars: Episode VIII" will arrive on Dec. 17, 2017.
Follow Brandon Katz at @Great_Katzby