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Everything we know about Yoda's species

When Pedro Pascal's bounty hunter discovered a baby Yoda in Disney+'s The Mandalorian, well, everybody lost their minds. The thing was just so cute it was almost unbearable. However, we don't know much about "the Child," as his species doesn't even have a name yet.

So what's up with this species of pint-sized, pointy-eared aliens? Not much is known about the Yoda species at all, which is strange considering Yoda is one of the most famous movie characters of all time. We know that they can use the Force, and we know they kinda resemble Kermit the Frog (while sounding a lot like Miss Piggy). But what makes them so special, and what have we learned about them over the years? Well, today we're diving deep into Star Wars lore and examining the history and biology behind these green guys. From real life to a galaxy far, far away, here's everything we know about Yoda's species. 

Yoda, we hardly know ye

In a Moviefone interview between George Lucas and Hayden Christensen where they answered fan questions, Lucas was asked about Yoda's species and his off-screen history. Lucas explained that when he decided to kill Obi-Wan at the end of the first film, he needed another character to take his place. He went on to describe Yoda as two feet tall with green ears, but Lucas then said he never really gave any more thought about his species. He's a "mystery character, a magical character, he has no background, he comes and he goes, he's the subversive, secret, mysterious stranger that enters the film and then exits at the end." 

As the years went on and the Expanded Universe was created, Lucas still didn't want anyone to give Yoda any kind of backstory. He eventually added another character of Yoda's species to The Phantom Menace and let creators in the Expanded Universe invent a couple more of the same species. But when Lucas sold Star Wars to Disney, everything in the Expanded Universe was considered non-canon, leaving only three Yoda-like species in the Star Wars universe. 

And then there were three Yoda creatures

While there have been several of Yoda's species, including those from the Extended Universe and the Knights of the Old Republic video game, at this point in time, there are only three in the official Star Wars canon: Yoda, Yaddle, and the Child/Baby Yoda. Yoda, of course, is the most visible of his species, appearing in six films, as well as in the animated shows Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Yaddle, a female of the Yoda species, was seen in The Phantom Menace. She was a Jedi Master and a member of the Jedi High Council alongside Yoda. Yaddle was there when Qui-Gon Jinn brought a young Anakin Skywalker to be evaluated by the Jedi High Council. However, after the Battle of Naboo, Yaddle wanted a break from the Jedi Council, and she was already gone when The Clone Wars began to air.

As the Child, aka Baby Yoda, has only recently been introduced to us in The Mandalorian, there's very little information known about it. We know it's approximately 50 years old, and that it's strong with the Force. We also know it tried to help the bounty hunter heal his wounds. The only other thing we know about baby Yoda right now is that it has captured our hearts, and it must be protected at all times.

The species is strong with the Force

According to StarWars.com, the Force "is a mysterious energy field created by life that binds the galaxy together." The Jedi, the Sith, and other Force-sensitive beings "harness the power of the Force," giving them amazing abilities such as "levitating objects, tricking minds, and seeing things before they happen." And as you probably guessed, the Yoda species is strong with the Force. Yoda is seen using it several times throughout the Star Wars franchise. The first time we see him use it is in The Empire Strikes Back when training Luke. After Skywalker fails to lift his X-wing out of the bottom of the swamp, Yoda shows him that it is indeed possible to use the Force to lift something so heavy.

We were also blessed to see Baby Yoda use the Force in the second episode in of The Mandalorian. In the scene, the bounty hunter is being attacked by a giant alien after stealing an egg from the creature's cave. Just when it looks like he's done for, Baby Yoda reaches out and lift the monster into the air, allowing the bounty hunter to grab his knife and kill it. Lifting that monster took everything out of Baby Yoda, though, and he went night-night for a long while afterwards.

The Yoda species is on the light side

As we all know, the Force has two sides, a light side and a dark side. The dark side, of course, is the realm of the Sith, like Darth Vader and Darth Sidious. It's easier to use than the light side as it utilizes emotions like fear, anger, and hate. However, practitioners of the light side, like Yoda, rely on more positive traits, such as mercy, honesty, and self-control. According to Wookieepedia, for Yoda's species to be at one with the light side of the Force, they would "meditate to clear themselves of emotion" and get rid of any "negative emotions such as aggression," thus preventing them from falling to the dark side.

As a practitioner of the Force, Yoda had several different powers he was able to wield, including communicating telepathically with other Jedi, Force empathy, telekinesis, and the ability to deflect Force lightning. Yoda's Force sensitivity was such that he was able to know which side of the Force someone was on by merely touching them.

They live a very long time

In The Mandalorian, when the title hero and IG-11 realize the target they're looking for is actually Baby Yoda, the bounty hunter says, "Wait. They said 50 years old." IG-11 then tells him, "Species age differently. Perhaps it could live many centuries." So if baby Yoda is 50 years old, that would place him being born around the same time as Anakin Skywalker. After all, The Mandalorian takes place five years after Return of the Jedi, the film in which Yoda dies.

We know that Yoda was approximately 900 years old at the time of his death. Around the age of 100, Yoda had already become a Jedi Master and had begun training apprentices. When he died, it was thought Yoda had taught over 20,000 Jedi, including Count Dooku and, of course, Luke Skywalker. And in the non-canon Expanded Universe, Yaddle was 483 years old at the time of her death on the planet Mawan. She'd served over 100 years on the Jedi High Council and had trained many apprentices in that time. Unlike Yoda's natural death, Yaddle was killed while on a mission to Mawan with Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin. She sacrificed herself by using the Force to absorb a bio-weapon set off on the planet, so we don't know how long she might've lived. Also, there still is a bit of mystery when it comes to just how long the species lives because both Yaddle and Yoda were Jedi, and it's thought they could live longer than an average member of the species.

They're green, tiny, and mighty

Without knowing Yoda's history or anything about Star Wars, one might think he's just a tiny, frail, lizard-like dude. Sure, Yoda was a little tired when he was training Luke Skywalker on Dagobah, but he was still strong with the Force. Still, there's no denying the dude is a bit diminutive. Yoda's species is short in stature, not usually growing above 70 centimeters or just over a couple of feet. Not only is Yoda short, but he's also pretty light, weighing about 29 pounds.

Members of the Yoda species have very pointed, elf-like ears that they use to express their emotions — curling, bending, or shaking depending on how they feel. They're also known to have tridactyl hands, meaning they have three clawed fingers on each of their hands. Despite having so few fingers, the species is still very adept at using a lightsaber. They also have a kind of thick, leather-like skin, and their blood is green, too.

The Yoda species eats meat

In case there was any doubt, Baby Yoda made it perfectly clear in episode two of The Mandalorian that his species definitely eats meat. He catches a rather large, frog-like creature and nearly swallows it whole. Although we don't really see Yoda eating during any of his appearances (well, other than stealing a bite of Luke's dinner), it was thought his species were carnivores due to the shape of their teeth. 

Yoda's chompers are super sharp, like razors, which can make quick work of ripping and chewing the skin of an animal. Those large claws on the end of their three fingers also come into play, making it easy to stab their potential meal. We know Yoda was eating vegetables while living on Dagobah, though. On the day Luke came to the swamp planet, the tiny alien was making something called rootleaf stew. Made of yarum and galla seeds, with some mushroom spores tossed in for good measure, this was part of Yoda's diet while exiled. Whether all of the Yoda species also eat vegetables isn't known, but this makes Yoda himself an omnivore.

They're prone to Force visions

Yoda's species have a sub-brain that's activated when they have Force visions, and it should be pointed out that while a lot of Jedi try to see the future, most fail. In other words, Yoda was a powerful dude, one who felt that Force visions were important and tried to act on them whenever he saw them. For example, in the series The Clone Wars, Yoda once had a Force vision that showed him the Jedi Order collapsing. This vision was close to what actually happened in Revenge of the Sith. Yoda also experienced a vision where Ahsoka Tano died inside the Jedi Temple which, thankfully, didn't come true. After all, Yoda knew the visions were only possibilities of what could happen in the future. None of them were guarantees, as the future was always in motion. 

For Yoda, Force visions were powerful tools, but they had their limitations. In the Expanded Universe, he famously warned a 16-year-old Anakin, who had three different versions of the same vision, that what he thought the vision meant could be vastly different than how the future actually turned out. As a result, Anakin learned his personal desires could obscure the true nature of the vision.

A different way of speaking, Yoda's species has

Yoda's speech pattern is one of his most famous features. Both Yoda and Yaddle speak an unusual form of the Galactic Basic Standard, the most common form of language in the galaxy. They both use "nonstandard grammar and formalized sentence construction," characterized by an object-subject-verb (OSV) format. Geoff Pullum, a professor of linguistics at University of Edinburgh, told The Atlantic, "This is a clever device for making him seem very alien."

However, according to Pullum, Yoda doesn't always stick to OSV. Instead, he sometimes goes with what's called XSV, with "the 'X' being a stand-in for whatever chunk of the sentence goes with the verb, even if it's not an object." Pullum said that Yoda thinks "OSV [or XSV] is normal," and he went on to explain that Yoda is "favoring the beginning of the sentence for various modifiers and complements that English syntax would normally leave till the end of the clause." And just to make Yoda's speech pattern even more confusing, Pullum points out that Yoda will occasionally speak in a normal subject-verb-object (SVO) sentences. It makes for an interesting mix when listening to Yoda wax poetic about any number of things.