Yoda has always been one of the most popular Star Wars characters because he served as the wise old man who helped Luke Skywalker in his journey to become a Jedi. Of course, Yoda’s design was unique when he was first introduced in ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.’ But the truth is that he was actually supposed to be blue instead of green. So, why was Yoda almost completely blue?
The story of Blue Yoda
One of the things that we know about Star Wars is that it has established a large cult following with millions of fans worldwide. This was due to how successful the original trilogy was and how the subsequent films and TV shows were able to make this vast lore even bigger. But one constant within the Star Wars universe has always been Yoda.
We first met Yoda as the Jedi Master who was responsible for training Luke Skywalker in the events of ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ where he was introduced as a tiny old creature who looks like a cross between an elf and a frog because of his green skin and pointy ears. Yoda was described as a great Jedi Master and as a wise old man who mastered the ways of the Force and was the best teacher to teach Luke how to become a true Jedi.
But while Yoda was strong and wise, the one thing that stood out about him was his appearance because he was the first alien Jedi we met in Star Wars. And even when compared to the other Jedi we eventually met, his appearance was still quite unique due to his small stature and green skin.
Yoda, of course, had a design that was originally different from what fans have become accustomed to. Of course, his original concept as a small and wise old man remained the same, but the thing is that he was supposed to be blue. Yes, the green Yoda we all know and love was originally conceptualized as a blue alien creature.
According to the early concepts of Yoda, he was supposed to have an appearance similar to that of a Smurf in that he had blue skin and a hat. To make him look older, the original concept gave him a white beard. So, yes, he may have originally had an appearance similar to Papa Smurf.
Of course, we know that the original concept was never followed because he eventually turned out to be green in ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ The blue design was never shown in any of the movies at all. The problem was an issue with the collaboration between the people working on the movie and the people working on the original novelization of ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’
That’s because the novelization of the movie actually described Yoda as being blue-skinned instead of green-skinned. The version of Yoda in the novelization matched the character’s early concept because he was described as having long white hair on his “blue-skinned head.”
The reason why the novelization of the movie made a mistake regarding Yoda was the fact that the novelization was released ahead of the movie. And George Lucas made it difficult for Donald F. Glut, a friend of his when they were both at film school, to learn more about the characters as he was quite secretive about the movie and the details behind it.
Glut was the person in charge of writing the novelization of ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ According to ‘STAR WARS and the History of Transmedia Storytelling,’ Glut didn’t even have access to any film footage:
“Some people could look at the scripts but not see the artwork; some people could see the artwork but not the scripts. They literally locked me inside a trailer with all the McQuarrie paintings.” He made sketches in a notebook and remembered showing an employee one sketch when he came out. “Is this Yoda?” Glut asked. The employee threw his hands over his eyes. “Don’t tell me! I don’t want to know.”
The fact that Glut wasn’t allowed to see the movie made it difficult for him to depict Yoda the right way. In fact, how he described Han Solo in his novelization was also different from Harrison Ford’s appearance.
But Glut’s novelization wasn’t the only one that mistakenly described Yoda as blue. In fact, the early Marvel Comics adaptation (see featured image) of the movie depicted Yoda as being blue instead of green. Again, this is probably due to another problem regarding the communication lines between George Lucas’ production team and the different people he commissioned to write novels and comics about his films.
Why was Yoda’s color changed to green?
While we have discussed the fact that Yoda was originally supposed to be blue, the good news is that his entire design was changed. He was turned into a green-skinned old man who wore robes instead of a smiling figure with a silly hat and blue skin. And we can’t even imagine Yoda being blue at all.
So, why was Yoda’s skin color changed from blue to green?
At this point, we aren’t really sure why Yoda’s color was changed from blue to green, but we do believe that it has something to do with the lighting of Dagobah. While Dagobah was supposed to be a greenish swamp, it was quite dark, especially at night. As such, it is possible that Lucas decided to turn Yoda green to make it easier for viewers to see him.
As you can see in the image above, it would be more difficult to focus your eyes on Yoda if he had been blue instead of green. The background around him is predominantly blue because Dagobah was always supposed to be a dark and swampy place.
This is similar to the fact that Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber was changed from blue to green in ‘Return of the Jedi’ as a blue saber was difficult to see against the background of the sky of Tatooine during daytime. With that said, Yoda’s skin color may have been changed to green to make him more visible during the Dagobah scenes, which were normally darker than any of the other scenes in ‘Empire Strikes Back.’
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