How Yoda became an action star -- With a little help from director George Lucas, the gentle Jedi (and his creators) learned to stop worrying and enjoy computer generation
Should we call him Yoda or Michelle Yeoh-dah? Difficult to say it is, after the crossed-lightsabers crescendo of ”Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones.” We’re talking, of course, about the most crowd-pleasing scene in a movie so far this year, wherein the little green Jedi Master summons the Force to bounce and whoop and haiiii-yah! his suddenly super-nimble way around his opponent, Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), with the hyper-caffeinated alacrity of a kung-fu fighter.
How did the wizards at director George Lucas’s Industrial Light & Magic effects shop get a character invented as a Muppet to do all that? By punting the rubber-dummy routine and remaking Yoda as an entirely computer-generated (CG) creature. Hey, it worked for Shrek!
Here’s an exclusive EW.com look at how the 2-foot-tall warrior got digitized — and at how the ILM crew nearly mutinied over Yoda’s journey into ”’Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ territory.”