Everyone knows Master Yoda. But the final silhouette of Yoda, revealed in the saga Star Wars, is the result of a long creative process which has sometimes experienced some deviations.
According to Allocinated, Master Yoda almost turned out to be a frog, and at one point was even planned to be a real monkey dressed in costume and wearing a mask. So many ideas that were finally (and fortunately) abandoned by George Lucas. While meeting some time later Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets, George Lucas had a revelation: Yoda was to be a puppet. Its final appearance was the fruit of a long work of several months supervised by the make-up artist Stuart Freeborn, who notably created the monkeys of 2001: A Space Odyssey. His two main inspirations for Yoda’s face were his own face…and that of scientist Albert Einstein. Some of his features and his eyes have thus been mixed with those of Stuart Freeborn for the final result that everyone knows and which contributes to the identity of Star Wars.
In the documentary The Empire of Dreams, the makeup artist in question explains his creative process: “George showed me some original sketches and I thought ‘Well, that’s interesting but I want a little more depth’. I looked in the mirror and thought ‘Well maybe something fun about my face.’ I put a bit of myself into it.” He then recounts how he came to be inspired by one of history’s greatest scholars: “Now I have to make him look smart,” he thought to himself. “I took a photo of Einstein and added his wrinkles. I thought about it a lot because it has to have all kinds of subtle movements, especially in the face and body. I put everything in, everything needed, and it ended up working.”