Here’s a new bit of cool and kind of weird Star Wars news. It seems, Jedi master Yoda was originally going to be played by a monkey, and there are a couple of rare behind the scenes photos from Will McCrabb that seem to be proof. According to him, the “Empire team initially hired a trainer and a monkey to hold a cane & play Yoda.”
The puppet was designed and built for Empire Strikes Back by Stuart Freeborn, with Jim Henson consulting. The monkey would have worn a Yoda mask. The plan was scrapped because the monkey kept pulling the mask off.