The Star Wars universe is packed with different alien species, and while many people would rather forget some of them (such as the Gungans), there are creatures that become instant favorites, even before they debut on the big screen. Such is the case of the Porgs, a species that will appear for the first time in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and which have already become quite popular among Star Wars fans.
These puffin-like creatures made their first appearance in the Last Jedi teaser reel shown at this year’s D23 Expo and although it was a behind-the-scenes video, showing the hard work that goes behind the cameras, the Porgs’ brief appearance caught the most attention from fans. But why are these creatures so popular having only appeared for a few seconds and months ahead of their debut on The Last Jedi?
As Syfy points out, less than two months after the Porgs were briefly introduced in the behind-the-scenes reel, Force Friday II took place and with it came all the licensed Porg merchandise. Disney knows its way through branding and merchandising like no other, not only with Star Wars but also with other properties such as Marvel, so it seems like the studio knew they had a big hit on these creatures. Jason Ward, editor of Making Star Wars explained to Syfy:
“When they were making the movie, I kept getting people who worked at Pinewood and on location saying ‘you’re going to love what’s coming, you’re going to love these new things’, and they wouldn’t tell me for a long time what they were. Finally I started to get reports that there were going to be these creatures inspired by puffins. Then people started sending me images and letting me know what they look like. And I was like oh, these are cool, they’re going to be huge.”
This Porg-fever have been building up slowly since Ward first mentioned them as “the protectors of Ahch-To” and their role on the island back in December. Then came the first sketches prior to their introduction in the aforementioned reel and finally the merchandise revealed during Force Friday II. Needless to say, toy sales boomed and Porgs’ popularity went even higher than it already was.
Lucasfilm later commissioned animated shorts featuring Porgs alongside Chewbacca and BB-8, further showing that the studio has full confidence on the giant hit that the Porgs are and will be. However, these creatures have already been compared to the Ewoks and even to some rather forgettable characters from the prequels such as Opee Sea Killer and Nexu, who were heavily featured in merchandise but didn’t offer much to the story.
The Porgs will appear next to Luke Skywalker and Rey on the island of Ahch-To, and as the story progresses they will share some interesting moments with Chewbacca and R2-D2. It’s yet to be seen how prominent of a role they will have in the narrative, but fans are hoping they won’t turn out to be a marketing ploy as the Ewoks were at their time and will actually have something to offer to the story beyond their adorable look.
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