However, while Yoda acts as though he had never met R2-D2 before, the Star Wars prequel trilogy, released decades later, revealed that Yoda was already well acquainted with the famous astromech droid.
Many Star Wars fans had pointed out the plot-hole on social media, with the franchise up until now leaving the matter unexplained – the obvious reason being that Lucas hadn’t yet fleshed out his ideas for the prequel series when Empire was being created.
A new collection of short stories, however, entitled From a Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back, co-written by Seth Dickinson, Hank Green, RF Kuang, Martha Wells and Kiersten White, offers an official explanation for the encounter on Dagobah.
A story called “The First Lesson”, written by Jim Zub, explains that Yoda did in fact recognise the droid, but chose to remain silent.
“Carefully moving through the swamp while staying beneath the fog, Yoda soon spotted the boy and his droid unpacking their supplies,” reads the passage.
“Even though the droid was caked with algae, dirt, and stomach fluid, its appearance and familiar blips were still quite recognisable. Of course the boy had Anakin’s old droid with him. Such cycles of fate no longer surprised the nine-hundred-year-old Jedi.”
Luke Skywalker recently re-appeared in the season two finale of Disney+'s Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, in a scene which was widely praised by fans.
This article was amended on February 25, 2021, to change a reference to a novel to “a collection of short stories” and to credit the author Jim Zub.