George Lucas is undoubtedly a visionary who bestowed upon us the expansive and beloved Star Wars universe. This creation has served as a canvas for numerous talented storytellers, from Dave Filoni to Rian Johnson, and even the likes of Timothy Zahn, the creator of Thrawn. However, not all of Lucas’s ideas have been met with the same level of enthusiasm, as exemplified by his initial suggestion for Yoda’s name.
In 1977, the release of the first Star Wars film revolutionized Hollywood, swiftly claiming the top spot at the box office. As Lucas embarked on crafting the sequel, he introduced a host of new characters, including the enigmatic Jedi master who would later be known as Yoda. Surprisingly, Lucas initially christened this iconic character with the name “Buffy.”
When revisiting the Star Wars saga today, it’s easy to forget that these rich and vibrant worlds were once merely concepts in Lucas’s imagination. It’s safe to say that the name “Buffy” didn’t quite capture the magic of what Yoda would ultimately become.
While “Buffy” made its appearance in George Lucas’s initial outline for “Empire Strikes Back,” by the time sci-fi expert Leigh Brackett worked on a draft before her passing in 1978, the character had been renamed “Minch Yoda.” Admittedly, “Minch” doesn’t represent a significant improvement over “Buffy.” However, the name “Yoda” stuck, proving to be the perfect moniker for one of the most iconic Star Wars characters.
This anecdote serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between creating names that seamlessly fit within the fantastical worlds of sci-fi and those that may miss the mark entirely. Lucas, despite his brilliance, hasn’t always hit the mark in this regard. After all, this is a universe where Star Wars villains bear names like Elan Sleazebaggano, and there’s even a genre of music referred to as “Jizz.”
Interestingly, neither “Buffy” nor “Minch” disappeared entirely from the Star Wars canon. “Buffy” found a place as the name of a window-cleaning droid in “Attack of the Clones,” while a Jedi of Yoda’s species named “Minch” made an appearance in the 2003 comic “Heart of Darkness.”
Adding to the lore, breakout star Grogu from “The Mandalorian” and “The Phantom Menace’s” Yaddle have expanded the roster of Yoda’s mysterious species. This group of enigmatic beings continues to grow, so it seems the Star Wars cast should prepare for a continued presence of these endearing green characters.