I’m not saying Frank Oz is definitely playing Yoda in Star Wars: Episode VIII, but I am saying it’s telling that he apparently can’t just say “no” when asked about it
Variety has an interview with Oz about the legacy of Jim Henson, which is worth a read, if only for his brutally honest assessment of the recent ABC Muppet show. But at the end, Oz was asked a few Star Wars questions and, well:
There are reports that you might reprise Yoda in the new “Star Wars.”
I feel like I’m a prisoner at war here, and I can only give you my name, rank and serial number. To be true to the people who asked me, and they are kind of my family, I have to say I’ve been asked not to talk about it. I love Yoda. I would be happy to talk to you about it at the time they let me.
This is interesting because if he wasn’t involved, presumably Disney and Lucasfilm would have no control over what he said—unless they managed to get everyone who’s ever been in any Star Wars anything to agree to answer this way no matter what. And while I am a big believer in the idea that Disney controls the whole universe, that seems a little impractical.
On the other hand, his wording could imply that after the rumors started, he was asked to just preserve the mystery even though he was not in it. And he agreed out of love for the “family” he had there. But then why would he say he’d talk about it when they “let” him? What difference would a “no” make in a few months, or after the film came out?
Either way, these are the kind of mysteries we can look forward to from everyone within sneezing distance of The Last Jedi. It’s going to be a delightful six months or so.