After several years since rumbling first arose suggesting LucasFilm and ILM were going to replace the hideous and creepy Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Yoda puppet with a CGI version, the first evidence of their work has made its way online just ahead of the Jedi Master’s debut on the upcoming Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray set.
One of the many complaints Star Wars raised about Episode I was the inclusion of a Yoda puppet that was less convincing than the one used to Episode V nearly 20 years prior. He looked like a reject off the set of The Muppets and was upstaged, in aesthetics, by the all-CGI Jar Jar Binks.
LucasFilm dropped hints several years ago that it was their intent to eventually replace Yoda in Episode I with a new CGI version. The only logical places for the new Yoda to pay a visit was either the Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray set coming out September 16, or the theatrical release of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 3D in February 2012. Now it looks like CGI Yoda will be making an appearance in both.
As confirmed last week during my trip to LucasFilm to preview Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray, below you’ll see a video of the new Yoda in all his CGI glory. Just below is an additional video of the original Yoda puppet who joins Han Shoots First in George Lucas’ trash bin of no longer wanted scenes side-by-side with the new Yoda. My vote is for new Yoda.