Atom may not be a TV-based entertainment site, but when it comes to something like Star Wars, and especially Baby Yoda (as the internet is calling him), certain exceptions can be made.
I mean, just look at him:
LOOK. AT. HIM.
Even though fans are calling him “Baby Yoda,” he’s not actually the Yoda – the time period is all wrong. That’s simply the only thing we can call him right now because he doesn’t actually have a name yet. That hasn’t stopped the internet from trying to coin various names like Yodito, Yiddle Yodee and Yiddle Yoddle, however…
— C-3PREE-O (Preeti Chhibber) (@runwithskizzers) November 25, 2019
#BabyYoda is Yodito.
End of story. pic.twitter.com/RIp2ycpu0N
— KATE SÁNCHEZ 💀 (@OhMyMithrandir) November 21, 2019
It’s entirely possible we won’t ever get a name for the little dude who has now unseated the Porgs as the most adorable creatures in Star Wars history. The Mandalorian is a Western, albeit one set in space, and Westerns are a genre in which characters often go unnamed or are called by mysterious monikers to create a mythic archetype – hence The Mandalorian, and not, say, Frank.
One thing is for certain: We won’t learn the name of Baby Yoda’s species. That comes from George Lucas himself, who was adamant that Yoda’s species name and their homeworld would remain a mystery. No one knows why, but Lucas always wanted to keep the history and origin of the species as one big question mark. In fact, Lucas was so insistent on this that he was even reluctant to confirm there was a species like Yoda in the first place, even going so far as to cutting lines from Revenge of the Sith that made simple references to “Yoda’s species.”
That being said, we know for sure there is a whole species and that Yoda isn’t alone in Star Wars lore. We also know that every single member of the species is a stone-cold badass, just like the wee lil’ bebe. Don’t believe me? Read on and learn.
(Note: I’m pulling from both canon and the Legends universe, so “It only counts if it’s canon” purists need not apply.)
Grand Master Yoda
I can’t kick this off without starting with the most famous of them all: Grand Jedi Master Yoda. He’s as deeply ingrained in Star Wars lore as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Darth Vader. As the Grand Master of the Jedi Order and the one who oversaw the order during the last years of the Galactic Empire, he was one of the most powerful and revered Jedi of all time.
As he lived for 900 years until his death in Return of the Jedi, Yoda was witness to some of the most important events in the history of the galaxy and oversaw the Jedi Order through its darkest times, including the lead-up and aftermath of the events of the devastating Clone Wars. During his time, he mastered all seven forms of lightsaber combat, considered the best duelist of his era, as well as the most powerful Force user in the Jedi Order and a master strategist. As a teacher and mentor, his apprentices were some of the most impressive Jedi ever (and, unfortunately, one Sith in Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus), including Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Luke Skywalker. The Jedi Order was Yoda and Yoda was the Jedi Order.
Yoda was one of the very few Jedi wily and powerful enough to escape Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious’ Great Jedi Purge and its infamous Order 66, going into deep hiding from the Empire. Years later, the exiled Grand Master met the young Luke Skywalker and trained him in the ways of the Force, with Yoda’s teachings later becoming what Luke Skywalker built the New Jedi Order around. By the time of his death at 900 years of age, Yoda was powerful enough to resist dissipating into the Force, choosing instead to become a Force ghost, where he continued to guide Luke Skywalker and live on even after death.
Jedi Master Yaddle
Almost as impressive and formidable as Yoda himself, his colleague, Yaddle, was a Jedi Master in her own right and a member of the Jedi High Council. She was widely revered for her wisdom, and while she patient and kind by nature, her compassion belied her nature as a true warrior underneath. Skilled in a number of unusual and ancient Jedi powers, such as morichro, and the overwhelmingly powerful and rare Force Light, Yaddle was a formidable fighter with an arsenal of Force powers at her disposal.
During her time with the Jedi Order, Yaddle trained her most impressive apprentice, Oppo Rancisis, who went on to join her on the High Council, serving during the Battle of Naboo and the Clone Wars. Yaddle also served during the Battle of Naboo, but after the battle chose to not be as active in Jedi Council affairs and was no longer on the High Council by the time of the Clone Wars.
Despite her diminutive size and gentle nature, Yaddle was tough as nails. As a young Jedi, Yaddle was captured and imprisoned on the planet of Koba by the warlord Tulak. While his prisoner, Yaddle was subjected to various forms of torture, but Tulak couldn’t break the young Jedi apprentice. He finally abandoned her on the planet, imprisoned underground to be watched over by his wardens indefinitely. She was eventually forgotten, remaining in solitary confinement for over a century. It was here she learned to tap into the archaic and dynamic gifts of the Force. Yaddle also learned combat by besting the vicious beasts that occasionally wandered into her underground cave, armed with nothing but a sharpened stick and her primal need to survive. Her death at age 483 was equally as brave, sacrificing herself to save the people of Mawan by using the Force to absorb a bioweapon that had been unleashed by Dark Jedi Granta Omega.
Jedi Master Minch
Fun fact, did you know Yoda was originally supposed to be named Minch Yoda but George Lucas eventually dropped the Minch in order to make him sound more mysterious? It’s true. The greatest Jedi Grand Master in history almost got a name that sounded like he could be the mechanic down the street. However, there was a Minch introduced later in Star Wars lore, also of Yoda’s species, first appearing in the “Heart of Darkness” story in 2003 comic book Star Wars Tales #16.
Minch lived long before Yoda and Yaddle, becoming a member of the Jedi High Council a full 700 years before the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope. However, unlike Yoda and Yaddle, Minch was not nearly as calm and patient. Thanks to his small stature, he was often taunted and underestimated by his opponents, fueling his desire to prove himself. Thanks to this, he could be rash and impulsive, once singlehandedly attacking a group of Bpfasshi (a Dark Jedi cult) on a Commerce Guild Station. After being defeated by the Bpfasshi Master, Minch disobeyed a direct order from his Master, breaking formation in order to pursue the Dark Jedi Master to Dagobah on his own.
During the fight, the Bpfasshi Master taunted Minch by referring to him as a Padawan, prompting Minch to snap that he was a Jedi Knight. Minch’s internal anger and fear were a lifelong Achilles’ heel for him, with the Dark Jedi Master telling him during their battle that those feelings would eventually find him falling into darkness. During their battle, it was close – while Minch eventually dealt the Dark Jedi Master a fatal blow, the Bpfasshi declared it had been a success and he’d succeeded in getting the Jedi to tap into the dark side of the Force to defeat him in the cave. The Bpfasshi’s blood and death at the hands of Minch eventually turned the cave into a powerful focal point for malevolent and dark Force energy.
Jedi Master And Fleet Admiral Oteg
Like the first three on this list, Oteg was a Jedi Master and a member of the Jedi High Council, first appearing in MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic. Unlike the other three, however, Oteg’s calling was more military than monkish, with the gifted Jedi joining the Galactic Republic Navy and rising all the way to Fleet Admiral.
During the Great Galactic War and the Cold War that followed, Oteg was appointed the commander of the First Expeditionary Fleet and led the charge against the Sith Empire. He achieved this position by showing himself to be a brave and uncanny strategist: While serving on the starship Sarapin Wanderer during the Great Galactic War, its captain was killed in battle. Taking command of the ship, Oteg rallied the crew to counterattack, driving the Imperial fleet into a nebula before tricking them into lighting the gas of the nebula, destroying the enemy fleet. For his efforts, he was promoted to Fleet Admiral, leaving the High Council and taking control of the dreadnought Telos.
Oteg was also involved in the daring rescue of the legendary Jedi Master and Sith Lord, Revan, overseeing the operation to acquire the Gree key needed to liberate Revan. He then engaged the Imperial Fifth Fleet during the attempt to rescue Revan, later welcoming the former prisoner on board the Telos.
Jedi Master Vandar Tokare
Another character first introduced in a video game (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), Vandar Tokare was a Jedi Master who oversaw the Dantooine Jedi Enclave Council during the Jedi Civil War and Mandalorian Wars, as well as holding a seat on the Jedi High Council. In battle, Vandar Tokare was a great fighter, carrying dual lightsaber shotos in mastery of the Jar’Kai combat martial art. But he was more skilled in using Force powers, able to tap into rare powers like Force suppression and Sever Force, as well as being advanced in telekinesis, even telekinetically wielding his shotos in battle.
Once Revan was recaptured from the Sith, Vandar Tokare was one of the few Jedi High Council members who argued for Revan to be retrained in the ways of the light side. After Revan’s memories were stripped, Vandar Tokare took it upon himself to oversee Revan’s rehabilitation. After the battle of Rakata Prime, Vandar Tokare declared Revan completely redeemed, reinstating Revan to his former rank of Jedi Knight.
Vandar Tokare was one of the few Jedi who escaped the First Jedi Purge. However, he was killed on the planet of Katarr during a secret Jedi Conclave of the remaining Jedi. Jedi Master Atris called the meeting, but, unknown to the rest of the Jedi, leaked information about the meeting in an attempt to draw out the enemy. Atris’s gamble backfired when Darth Nihilus was drawn to Katarr and absorbed all the Force energy from the planet, killing all the Jedi present, essentially causing the extinction of the Jedi Order. However, Vandar Tokare lived on after death, with his wisdom and knowledge being preserved in a Jedi Noetikon, one of only three Jedi to ever gain that honor.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th. Get tickets here.