Saturn Awards: Frank Oz talks “Star Wars,” George Lucas and the possibility of a Yoda spinoff


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Frank Oz has worn many different hats in Hollywood. He’s a staple of the Jim Henson Company, voicing many memorable characters from “The Muppets,” directing “Dark Crystal” and even playing the Wiseman in “Labyrinth.” He’s directed “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Death at a Funeral.” Heck, he even voiced three of “Sessame Street’s” main characters — Bert, Grover and the Cookie Monster — for almost four decades.

But Oz’s work as the voice of Yoda will always be what we love him most for. The little green Jedi has become a staple of George Lucas’s “Star Wars” universe, and was one of the main reasons that Oz received a Life Career Award from the Saturn Awards on Thursday. IFC had the chance to speak with Oz on the red carpet for the event and asked him about the impact that “Star Wars” has had on his life.

“I’ve been blessed that George gave me the opportunity to do Yoda and to work with him. George and Lucasfilms, they’re like a second family, a professional family. You know, it’s not a day job. You do it every fifteen years,” he said with a laugh that had a hint of Yoda in it. “But every time you do it, George just wants to make it better and it’s just a joy to bring that character to life. I know that character inside out. I know that character. And working with George is always a pleasure. He’s very specific. He knows what he wants. And it’s a joy.”

When asked why he thinks that “Star Wars” has remained so relevant over the decades since its release, he said, “I think it’s the mythology. I think the underground current of that larger mythology, that touches us all. ”

Yoda is a character who has appeared in five of the six main “Star Wars” movies, but whose origins were never explained. Of course, fans got to understand more about the Jedi master thanks to “Star Wars” novels, comic books and games, but Oz admitted that he created his own backstory for the character.

“When I was creating the character of Yoda, I got everything in the script and I really marked everything down from the script — what people knew about Yoda, what Yoda knew about people, what others didn’t, etc. — and I created a biography for him. So I have it in my head, but there hasn’t been an opportunity to work on it if there was [a spinoff],” he said.

When we asked if he’d ever want to work on something that explored more of Yoda as a character, he said, “Oh sure, sure, but it’s not one of those things that you want to [force]. It’s one of those things that you want to sit down with somebody at a bar and talk about.”

Oh how we would love to be sitting opposite him in that bar.

Would you ever want to see a “Star Wars” project explore more of Yoda’s backstory? What is your favorite thing that Oz has worked on? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.


Balls to the Wall

Meet a Dysfunctional Dodgeball Team on Ball or Nothing

Catch new Comedy Crib episodes every Tuesday.

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In the first episode of Comedy Crib‘s Ball or Nothing, Chloe just wants to hit her ex in the face — with a dodgeball. Since her ex really, really deserves such a fate, her teammates are more than happy to have her back on this one.

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The new series will take you onto the sidelines of an adult dodgeball team, revealing that like on Benders, sometimes real life happens on the sidelines. The show is written and created by Megan Rosati of the hit comedic web series 52 Ways to Break Up and features actress Brea Grant (Heroes, Real Housewives of Horror) as the very intense teammate Chloe.

Also on Comedy Crib this week, the latest episode of Does Dave Know We’re Here? shows how a group of friends kill time in the car while waiting for their pal Dave. If you’ve ever wanted to get into the tuxedo shirt business, this episode is for you.

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Fred & Horatio Team Up

Former SNLers Work on Latino-Focused Comedy Hub

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Star Trek VI

Space Munchies

8 Bizarre Alien Foods From Sci-Fi Movies

Catch the Star Trek movies this month on IFC.

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Some of the best science-fiction movies pose the most important question: what are we going to eat? When humans explore far off planets, it’s inevitable that they will seek out new snacks. Before you catch the Star Trek movies on IFC this month, enjoy this buffet of strange alien foods.

8. Akrennian Beetle Sashimi, Titan A.E.

Titan AE

Titan A.E. reverses the usual science fiction plot by destroying Earth at the start of the movie. Planetarily homeless humans then have to get by however they can, and that includes eating live insects in xeno-cafeterias. Cale Tucker’s simple requests for ketchup, or that the food at least be cooked, fall on deaf alien sensing organs.

7. Klingon Blood Wine, Star Trek franchise



Klingons are what happens when Vikings invent warp drive. Their favorite things are fighting and drinking, and Klingon Blood Wine lets them enjoy both passions simultaneously.

6. Alien Grubs, Enemy Mine

Enemy Mine

20th Century Fox


Aliens just can’t get enough of that delicious insect goodness, and the only thing they enjoy more than biting a thorax in half is offering the other dripping chunk to the nearest disgusted human. Enemy Mine saw Dennis Quaid and an alien bond over roast bug so hard that they ended up having a kid. It’s apparently a more romantic meal than we thought.

5. Kep-mok Blood Ticks, Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest



When the Galaxy Quest crew find their fictional starship built by real aliens, they get to enjoy everything they ever acted out on television. Except for poor Doctor Lazarus, who’s saddled with fictional beliefs, an adoring fan, and a big bowl of Kep-mok Blood Ticks.

4. Iguana-Chicken, Stargate




Stargate would spawn an incredibly popular TV series and is one of the few science-fiction franchises to explain why everyone in the galaxy is pretty much “humanoid with bits of stuff on their foreheads.” Another common factor is apparently food. Dr. Daniel Jackson’s professional opinion on a giant xeno-iguana is that it “tastes like chicken” — a sentiment he’d repeat during the rest of the series.

3. Racht, Star Trek franchise




Many aliens seem to insist on eating bugs, but the Klingons are higher-brow (pun intended) than that. A big bowl of “racht” is considered quite tasty, but must be served live and squishy. Any chef silly enough to kill or cook the worms may end up on the receiving end of a bat’leth swipe to the face.

2. Pizza the Hutt, Spaceballs

Pizza the hutt

While also a living, talking character, Pizza the Hutt is the most accidentally horrific food ever filmed. Created as a pun-y joke for Spaceballs, the constantly-dripping Hutt is disturbing enough even before his assistant Vinnie starts eating him. Even Barf finds this pizza disgusting.

1. Humans, Return of the Jedi

Return of the Jedi

Everyone forgets that the Ewoks wanted to eat Han, Luke, and the rest in Return of the Jedi. The cuddly cannibals would go on to become a franchising bonanza, with many kids of the ’80s owning their own toy Ewok Village/”Human Barbecue” playset.

D's Best

Tenacious D’s 10 Most Insane Live Performances

Catch The D at Festival Supreme Saturday, October 10th.


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Tencious D knows how to rock. Hard. And they’ll be melting faces with the power of their rocking this Saturday, October 10th, at Festival Supreme in Los Angeles. As a tribute to The D and their awesome comedy and music festival, check out some of their most mindblowing-ly insane live performances below. How will their Festival Supreme appearance compare? Better grab tickets and find out.

10. Wonderboy on Late Night w/ Conan O’Brien

The boys get to play dress up in this classic Conan clip.

9. Ben Stiller Joins The D (NSFW)

It’s all fun and games until Ben Stiller crushes your dreams.

8. “Throw Down” on The Late Late Show

The boys’ religious history lesson is a bit more Metal than your typical Sunday school class.

7. “Dude (I Totally Miss You)” Live (NSFW)

KG threatens to leave the band, but can’t resist the silken voice of best friend Jables.

6.Tribute” feat. Dave Grohl from MADtv

You don’t often think of rock when it comes to MADtv, but when they let The D loose the result was TV gold.

5. All Jazz, All The Time in Milan

Jack announces that Tenacious D is now a jazz band, and somehow still makes it sound hardcore.

4.Roadie” at SXSW (NSFW)

“Coming to you live at the…what is this place?,” the boys take a moment to honor the unsung heroes of rock.

3.Beelzeboss” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Lead guitarist John Konesky is possessed by the Devil, and the only way to save him is to rock!

2. “F*ck Her Gently” at Blizzcon (NSFW)

JB teaches us how to make love The D way in this classic performance from the 2010 Blizzcon.

1. “The Metal” Live and Uncut

The only way this could be more metal is if it were not a video clip, but a bar of iron.

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