News of the diminutive Jedi master's elevation from supporting character status comes following the announcement of a new trilogy of Star Wars films after Disney purchased all rights to the series for $4.05bn last October.
The studio announced last month that Star Trek director JJ Abrams will take on the first movie, Episode VII, and screenwriters are already in place to take on the two subsequent installments. However, there have also been regular rumors that Disney plans spinoff films in a similar vein to the plethora of character-based superhero movies that have emerged in the past few years under its wholly-owned Marvel Studios banner. Now it looks as if Yoda could be coming out of retirement as part of plans put in place by new LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy.
"The first standalone film is going to center upon Yoda. At this stage, specifics are sparse, but Kathleen Kennedy is putting together a Star Wars slate.
"I've also heard tale of a Jabba story that Lucas has floated to some of his buddies. But word is Yoda is first."
Yoda featured in all three of the prequel movies, though in the last two he was depicted in CGI rather than in original puppet mode, much to the chagrin of some older fans. The character was voiced (and controlled for the classic trilogy) by Frank Oz, the former Jim Henson collaborator who also brought Muppets such as Miss Piggy to life. It is not known whether the 68-year-old, who has made a career as a film director in recent years, is in line to return to the role.
A Yoda movie could potentially throw a spanner in the works for Disney's previously announced plans to set the new Star Wars trilogy after 1983's Return of the Jedi. Were the Jedi master to appear in his own movie before turning up in the new trilogy, it would require some serious recon work, because Yoda died in that film. Nevertheless, the series has shown in the past that death need not be a barrier to returning in a future installment. Despite being killed off in the Return of the Jedi, Alec Guinness played Obi Wan Kenobi in two more Star Wars films.