Star Wars captured the imagination of the world over 40 years ago. The characters in it felt entirely new and never-before-seen, but some of them drew inspiration from unlikely sources. Like Yoda, the all-knowing Jedi Master who trained Luke Skywalker.
When George Lucas was planning the original film, he asked Stuart Freeborn, a special effects artist, to help bring the character to life. The artist drew on both his own likeness, and that of Albert Einstein to bring the iconic green alien to life.
A photograph of Einstein hung in Freeborn’s studio, and the wrinkles around his eyes helped create the warm, wise look of Yoda that we know today.
It’s a fitting inspiration, the world’s most renowned scientific mind, inspiring an endlessly-wise, powerful Jedi, living on Dagobah.
“From their unparalleled wisdom to their wispy white hair, physicist Albert Einstein and Jedi master Yoda have quite a bit in common — and that’s no coincidence. In fact, the real-life scientist helped influence the physical look of the beloved Star Wars character.
When Yoda was being developed for 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars creator George Lucas hired special effects artist Stuart Freeborn to bring the character to life. By chance, a picture of Einstein happened to hang in the studio where Freeborn worked on the early Yoda puppets.
The wrinkled look around Einstein’s eyes eventually made it into Yoda’s final design, coupled with features from Freeborn’s own likeness.”