There’s a big, if unintentional, consequence of Baby Yoda’s existence. Because we were told how old the little guy is (50) and we think we have a decent understanding of how old Baby Yoda is developmentally (approximately 18 months) considering what we’ve seen of his actions so far in The Mandalorian, we can infer how old Master Yoda was when he pulled his disappearing act on Luke in Return of the Jedi. If our theory is correct, Jedi Master was so young he probably didn’t even have a 401k.
According to my math, Yoda was only, developmentally speaking, 27 years old when he died.
When Yoda passes in Return of the Jedi we know he’s around 900 years old. He’s aged visibly from Revenge of the Sith set over 18 years before that. Because we see that he ages over the course of nearly 20 years, we can make one major assumption about his species (which is not named in Star Wars canon and will be referred to simply as Yoda for the purposes of this blog)—they continue to age over time and do so in clear visible ways. This means it has senescence—a term referring to creatures (including humans) that mature and age after reaching maturity. This also means Yodas likely do not possess negligible senescence—a trait shared by many turtles and lobsters. Those species age so slowly it is difficult to perceive biologically speaking.
So we know Yodas age. Given Frank Oz’s acting choices when portraying Yoda in Return of the Jedi we might infer that Yoda, while being 900 in Star Wars years, is comparable to a 70-year-old human. But that’s based on our perception of signs of advanced aging, right? Only there are plenty of humans who appear much older than they actually are.
If humans can appear older than they are, then Yodas should theoretically be capable of the same. Unfortunately for our working theory here, we only have three Yodas in our sample size. First, there is Yoda, who we have established ages over the course of 18 years at least. Then there is Yaddle, a female Yoda. Her character model, which appears in The Phantom Menace, was originally designed to be a younger Yoda. Then someone slapped a wig on the puppet and young Yoda became Yaddle.
Yaddle has no association with age apart from the Apocrypha regarding her origin. We cannot know if she is a younger version of the species or older. We can only know she looks like she took too big a hit off the bong and needs some Jack in the Box tacos stat. Baby Yoda expands our sample size of the Yoda species and allows us to better understand how old Yoda was.
Little cherubic nom-able Baby Yoda is 50 years old in The Mandalorian. No approximations needed—Werner Herzog, as the Client, says it in the first episode. Developmentally it’s a little more difficult to guess Baby Yoda’s age exactly compared to a human child. Baby Yoda can drink tea calmly out of an open container and walk and eat frogs which might suggest an age of 3 to 4. However, Baby Yoda cannot yet vocalize beyond gurgles and baby squeals and interacts with non-tea and frog objects like a much younger child. This leads me to believe that developmentally the Child is somewhere between 18 months and 24 months in human parlance.
Now, if the Child is 24 months old that means 2.08 years for a Yoda is approximately the same as one month for a human. If the child is 18 months old that’s 2.78 years per human month. That means that Yoda, at 900 years, was between 27 and 36 developmentally, when he died.
I’m sure his mother is very disappointed that he flamed out so young in his life and fucked off to a swamp before becoming a Force ghost that haunted Luke Skywalker to the end of his days.
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