Yoda won't be appearing in the new Star Wars trilogy, aka Episodes VII, VIII & IX. At least not that we know of.
But you haven't seen the last of the diminutive-but-powerful Jedi Master. The fan favorite character is coming to Star Wars Rebels, Disney XD's in-continuity animated series that succeeded Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This news is a bigger deal than you might first think.
That's because the man who created the fan-favorite Jedi, Frank Oz himself, is returning to his most famous role for the first time in a decade. Oz will voice Yoda on an upcoming episode of Rebels called "Path of the Jedi."
Yoda was a fixture on The Clone Wars (as seen in the image below), appearing frequently and sometimes taking the spotlight during its six-season run (currently available on Netflix). But for that show, he was voiced by prolific voice actor Tom Kane. Kane has been Lucasfilm's go-to guy for Yoda in every corner of the Star Wars universe where Frank Oz wasn't involved, from The Clone Wars to dozens of video games.
Yet the role remains irrevocably connected to puppeteer and actor Frank Oz, who voiced him in five big-screen movies and performed his puppetry in two of them. (Three if you count that wretched puppet in The Phantom Menace.) Oz returning to Yoda after all these years is something truly special for Star Wars fans.
But how can Yoda appear on Rebels when it's set during the time he was in self-imposed exile on Dagobah? TV Guide reports that Lucasfilm Animation has taken this into account. You won't actually see Yoda on the show, you'll only hear him. In the episode, Yoda's voice reaches out across the galaxy to give advice to Rebels' resident Jedi Kanan Jarrus and his Force-sensitive protégé, Ezra Bridger.
TV Guide also says that the episode will include "several homages to the lore," including nods at Empire Strikes Back and the final (and Yoda-centric) episodes of The Clone Wars.
"Path of the Jedi" debuts Monday, January 5, 2015 on Disney XD. It will be available to stream on the Watch Disney XD app one week earlier.