Characters: Yoda Goes Digital--and Conquers Too

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We love Yoda. So when we heard that the folks responsible for Jar Jar Binks were scrapping the puppet and rendering Yoda entirely on computer for Attack of the Clones, we were skeptical. Why wait for the movie? Just kill us now. Not to worry: the digital Yoda remains remarkably true to the delicate puppetry of Frank Oz, who still supplies the voice. Because the new computer-generated Yoda needed to match the rubber one from The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas wasn't after perfection. "We didn't want to make him look like he was real," he says. ILM animation director Rob Coleman based Yoda's performance on the hand movements Oz used inside the puppet, including the flaws. "When Frank would move the head, the ears would jiggle," says Coleman. "If we hadn't put that in, it wouldn't look like Yoda." Indeed, the 900-year-old Jedi is awfully spry during the climactic lightsaber duel. Get ready to cheer when you see Yoda run. --J.C.