Yoda faced some antagonistic opponents throughout his lifetime, and we caught a taste of his skills when he battled Count Dooku and Darth Sidious. Yoda prevailed in both lightsaber duels and held his own in Force lightning battles, proving he can take anyone in his old age.
But can he beat a man who took Sidious’ Order 66 to another level and once killed off half the universe in Avengers: Infinity War?
Yoda went into self-imposed exile after failing to defeat Darth Sidious, implying he could not defeat Thanos.
Thanos’ arrogance cost him at the end of Avengers: Endgame. He also needed the Infinity Stones to achieve maximum strength.
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Born in 896 BBY, Yoda quickly worked his way through the Jedi ranks, becoming a Knight before he reached age 100, and he spent the next eight centuries training Jedi.
Yoda, even in his waning years, showed he could defeat powerful Sith Lords in lightsaber combat and match them in wielding the Force. He also helped clear the Jedi Temple of clone troopers when he arrived on Coruscant following Order 66.
One of Yoda’s most distinguished traits involved his ability to execute long-term plans.
Regarding Thanos, Yoda would have seen one of the all-time most dangerous villains in cinematic history’s purge of the universe, forcing him to realize the supervillain was as bad as Darth Sidious.
As he did in Revenge of the Sith, Yoda would have concocted a plan to overcome Thanos like he did the Galactic Empire. So even if Yoda concluded he could not defeat Thanos in a duel, it doesn’t mean he would not have eventually won the fight.
But assuming Yoda and Thanos engaged in a one-on-one duel, would Yoda’s abilities eclipse Marvel Comics’ most notorious bad guy?
Yoda’s green-bladed Shoto was his go-to weapon. In lightsaber combat, the acrobatic Ataru, or Form IV, fighting style let him use short, quick attacks on opponents while they struggled to keep up with his speed.
Against Thanos, this ability would play to Yoda’s favor given his small size. Thanos holds a lot of bulk and would have a tough time keeping up with the Jedi Grand Master’s elusiveness.
Even if Thanos separated Yoda from his lightsaber, it wouldn’t do him much good. Darth Sidious found out in Revenge of the Sith that it was useless to use Force lightning against Yoda, given the latter’s ability to absorb and reflect via Tutaminis.
Since it’s likely Thanos can’t wield Force lightning, Yoda probably wouldn’t use Tutaminis against him. But he would need a Force barrier to block some of Thanos’ most powerful offensives.
And even if his Force barrier failed, Yoda could still resort to telekinetic ability to subdue any offensive, especially projectile, Thanos throws his way.
A master at telekinesis, Yoda may toss his own projectiles, or even his lightsaber, at Thanos. This would make it hard for someone of Thanos’ size to avoid.
Yoda was also well-versed in Force-healing, which would allow him to recover if he took a few shots from Thanos. He could also use the Jedi Mind Trick to confuse Thanos and separate him from those Infinity Stones. Tony Stark proved that was possible in Avengers: Endgame.
Most importantly, Yoda also possessed the outstanding precognitive ability, and he mastered the famed Jedi Mind Trick. Two abilities that would provide the most value in a duel with Thanos.
Yoda’s Force stealth kept him hidden from the Sith from 19 BBY until his death. And Thanos has one ability that Yoda could only overcome using the Force stealth maneuver.
Like Yoda, Thanos was old, having lived for a millennium. Unlike Yoda, Thanos showed no signs of aging. Instead, he appeared to strengthen with age.
A native of the planet Titan, Thanos witnessed rapid population growth in his homeworld. This caused him to become concerned that, with so many inhabitants on Titan, the planet’s resources would not sustain the growing population.
To kill off half the population. Though Titan’s inhabitants rejected his plan, they died off anyway, leaving Thanos as the sole survivor.
Following the tragedy on his home planet, Thanos vowed never to allow other worlds to suffer from the same fate. So he believed himself destined to kill off half the universe so its survivors would relish in the wealth of their respective worlds’ resources.
While Thanos led alien armies and commanded the Sanctuary II warship, he knew it wasn’t enough to assert his plans. Eventually, he discovered six Infinity Stones that would help him achieve his mission and balance the universe.
As arguably the strongest villain in Marvel Cinematics, Thanos possessed a dozen notable powers that could give him an advantage in a duel with Yoda.
He has one power that Yoda probably never thought of, including time manipulation. While Yoda can see into the future, can he see alternate timelines? And better yet, can Yoda prevent Thanos from using such a move?
Thanos could also throw victims into false realities, convincing opponents that the warped reality they’re dealing with is real. However, Jedi Trials comprised similar means, and it’s likely, Thanos wouldn’t outsmart Yoda with reality warping.
Thanos could also teleport, which would give him the ability to outmaneuver any projectile Yoda would think of telekinetically launching his way. But Yoda’s precognition may let him see Thanos’ next landing spot and deliver a finishing blow.
And like Yoda, Thanos was also gifted with telekinesis. But this probably wouldn’t phase Yoda, given the Jedi Grand Master’s ability to overcome his opponents’ telekinetic abilities multiple times in the Star Wars films.
Thanos’ power blasts were powerful enough to destroy moons, giving it the power to rival the Death Star. But, such blasts were inconsistent, as even a full power blast did little to Tony Stark. This indicates Yoda would probably overcome it if he was fast enough to wield the Force.
Thanos could also control dead armies via the Soul Stone. But once again, Yoda has an answer, given his ability to single-handedly take on hordes of clone troopers and droids.
Yoda would have trouble combatting Thanos’ endurance. Especially since the aging Jedi Master may not hold up as he did during his prime.
However, he could counter Thanos’ super strength with ease, given his ability to protect himself with the Force. The same would go for fighting off Thanos’ energy beams.
|Yoda: Jedi Master||Thanos: Eternal-Deviant Warlord|
|Weapon of Choice: Green-Bladed Lightsaber||Weapon of Choice: Infinity Stones|
|Strongest Attack: Ataru Fighting Style||Strongest Attack: Teleportation|
|Strongest Defensive: Force barrier||Strongest Defensive: Time Manipulation|
|Biggest Challenge: Countering Thanos’ time manipulation||Biggest Challenge: Overcoming Yoda’s Force-wielding capabilities|
|Key to Victory: Separate Thanos from his Infinity Stones.||Key to Victory: Wear down the Jedi Grand Master.|
Can Yoda Beat Thanos?
In a prolonged battle, a 900-year-old Yoda would have a tough time physically standing up to a 1,000-year-old Thanos, who still looks like he’s in his prime.
But, Yoda has the Force on his side to fight like a Jedi Master centuries younger than his biological age. At least for a predetermined time.
Yoda has an answer for most of Thanos’ abilities. He would have no trouble fighting through Thanos’ false realities since, as a Jedi Grand Master, he has probably dealt with a few of them.
Teleportation may give Yoda headaches. But Yoda, the strong Force-wielder he is, would sense a pattern and use his precognitive abilities to predict where Thanos would reappear.
Yoda once fought off an entire droid army, rendering Thanos’ ability to control dead armies useless. And by wielding a Force barrier, Yoda would overcome Thanos’ strength and power blasts. Yoda could also reflect these blasts back at Thanos.
Does Yoda have enough endurance to withstand Thanos, especially if he’s using time manipulation to his favor?
To defeat Thanos, Yoda would need to fool him. This would require Yoda to dip into his Jedi Mind Trick ability. If there is one thing Thanos can’t do, it involves mind manipulation.
While Thanos can communicate via telepathy, odds are he could propagate and manipulate the minds of a non-Force-sensitive. This means only Force-sensitives would have a chance to defeat Thanos.
Thanos is also well-versed in psychic resistance. But the question is, can he resist a Jedi Mind Trick from Yoda?
Who Wins This Duel?
If Yoda separated Thanos from his Infinity Stones, he would have a much easier time overcoming the supervillain. And Yoda’s Jedi Mind Trick may counter Thanos’ strongest abilities.
But with Thanos so well-versed in resisting a psychic assault, he may defend himself even against the galaxy’s strongest Jedi Master’s mind tricks while most in the Star Wars universe could not.
This battle boils down to whose psychic abilities win out. Yoda never felt a pull to the dark side of the Force, proving he’s resistant to withstand any psychic attack.
Another question is, can Yoda’s endurance outlast Thanos? While Thanos is technically older, even Yoda’s species does not age as slowly as Thanos. And that puts Yoda behind the eight-ball.
However, Yoda’s ability to hide his ability via Force stealth also means that he can attack Thanos psychically when the latter least expects it. If Yoda uses the Force to catch Thanos off-guard, he wins.
Who in Star Wars Could Beat Thanos?
Only powerful Jedi and Sith Lords could beat Thanos. Mace Windu is the first that comes to mind. And odds are, Windu would easily defeat Thanos given his Vaapad fighting style.
Using Vaapad, Windu would take Thanos’ rage and use it against him. Coupled with Force stealth, it’s something the supervillain would not see coming.
Darth Sidious also sticks out. While it’s likely he and Thanos would be allies if Star Wars and Marvel ever agreed to a crossover film, Sidious was more well-versed in the Force than Yoda and Mace Windu. If he wasn’t, he would not have kept his true identity sealed.
Like Yoda, Sidious would only need to use his most prolific maneuver that hid his powers: Force stealth. Coupled with his ability to use Force lightning, Sidious would:
- Keep Thanos from using his telepathic abilities to sense Sidious’ power.
- Prevent Thanos from manipulating while catching the supervillain off-guard with Force lightning.
Others who may have a chance to defeat Thanos include Rey Skywalker and Grogu.
Rey defeated Darth Sidious at Exegol. And while she temporarily died in the effort, it would be interesting to discover if Thanos could overcome her ability to absorb strength from past Jedi.
Grogu is the wild card. And while it’s far-fetched to believe Baby Yoda would stand a chance against Thanos, he showed us enough raw strength in The Mandalorian to give us an idea of what he would look like as a fully-trained Jedi.
He has Yoda’s strength, that’s a given. So if Grogu speaks as a Jedi Master or just a master at Force-wielding without the Jedi title, he could also challenge Thanos.
Yoda can beat Thanos in a duel, but only if he uses his Force stealth to catch him off-guard. This would negate Thanos’ ability to manipulate time since odds are high that he wouldn’t see Yoda’s telepathic attacks, like the Jedi Mind Trick, coming.
But, if Thanos expects the Force stealth, Yoda would have a tough time winning this battle. Yoda is also one of a few Jedi capable of defeating Thanos. Mace Windu has the best chance of any Force-sensitive since his Vaapad fighting style could counter Thanos’ rage.
Rey, Darth Sidious, and Grogu could also legitimately challenge Thanos.
Sion Fawkes has been covering Star Wars since January 2022, expanding his expertise in both Star Wars Canon and Legends. When not writing, you can find Sion in the gym or running trails. He also likes watching sports and listening to audiobooks.