WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi! Continue reading at your own risk...
While Star Wars: The Last Jedi did a lot to set itself apart from previous films in the franchise, it also contained plenty of nostalgia packed in for the series faithful. This was especially true of the film's most notable cameo, which came with multiple ties to Empire Strikes Back. (Seriously, MASSIVE spoilers are ahead.)
After Rey left Luke alone on Ahch-To, he was visited by Yoda, the legendary Jedi Master who trained Luke on Dagobah back in Empire. What everyone quickly noticed about the scene was, in addition to his throwback attitude, Yoda's appearance was just like they remembered from the 1980 film. The little green Jedi Master was a puppet once again.
During an interview with Uproxx, director Rian Johnson revealed that it was important for Yoda to be just like the version that fans remembered from Empire Strikes Back, so he went above and beyond to make sure that was exactly what happened.
"That felt really important to me," Johnson said of Yoda's appearance. "Actually, I cut some of that out and Frank Oz said to me I had to put it back. Because when I first pitched him the scene, it's like the Yoda from Empire is back because that's the one Luke had the emotional connection with. And that's why we did the puppet and recreated the Empire puppet: Neal Scanlan and his team did a recreation of the Yoda puppet. It's not only a puppet, it's an exact replica of the Empire puppet. They found the original molds for it. They found the woman that painted the original eyes for Yoda. Then Frank came and worked with them for a few weeks to get the puppet right. He did a lot of testing and a lot of adjusting with the puppet creators. It was amazing to watch the process. The idea that the last time Luke saw Yoda was in Return of the Jedi and the notion of getting back to that version of Yoda to form the emotional connection with Luke – including a glimpse of the impishness, as part of their relationship. It made a lot of sense."
The Empire influences ran deep in the veins of The Last Jedi, and you'd be hard-pressed to find any Star Wars fan that's disappointed about that.