New information about Luke Skywalker’s alien companions on Ahch-To in Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been revealed. In the final scene of 2015’s The Force Awakens, audiences saw the old Jedi Master alone on an island, leading some to believe he was on the remote planet all by himself. That, however, is not the case. Episode VIII writer/director Rian Johnson wanted to give Luke some new friends, populating the world with an assortment of indigenous creatures that are unlike anything viewers have seen in the galaxy far, far away.
The porgs are quickly becoming the breakout stars of The Last Jedi thanks to their cuddly appearance and fondness for Chewbacca and R2-D2. While the puffin-like animals are among the most anticipated new additions to the saga, they won’t be the only new aliens seen in the film. Also keeping Luke company on Ahch-To is a race of amphibian-esque aliens referred to as the Caretakers.
As part of EW‘s continuing coverage on The Last Jedi, Johnson offered some details about the native species on Ahch-To, specifically elaborating on the purpose the Caretakers serve. The outlet also included two new images (one of Chewie with a porg in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon and another of the Caretakers), which you can see below:
“They’re kind of these sort of fish-bird type aliens who live on the island. They’ve been there for thousands of years, and they essentially keep up the structures on the island… They’re all female, and I wanted them to feel like a remote sort of little nunnery. Neal Scanlan’s crew designed them, and costume designer Michael Kaplan made these working clothes that also reflected sort of a nun-like, spartan sort of existence.”
Johnson also mentioned the Caretakers talk with Luke in “a blubbery sort of Scottish fish talk,” and merely “tolerate” his presence on Ahch-To. The porgs, on the other hand, seem to simply be cute birds to flesh the planet’s population out. Interestingly enough, both were brought to life via practical effects. While the Caretakers are augmented via animation, on-set they were played by extras in costumes. The porgs are primarily puppets created by Scanlan’s creature shop, grounding them in some form of reality. It’s nice to see Johnson incorporating the filmmaking techniques implemented by J.J. Abrams on The Force Awakens, which took Star Wars back to its roots in terms of production.
Star Wars 8 is poised to have some interesting new locations, such as Ahch-To and casino city Canto Bight (a playground for the galaxy’s elite). After Episode VII‘s planets were criticized for being 21st century versions of worlds we saw in the original trilogy, it’s encouraging that Last Jedi won’t fall victim to that pitfall. These worlds are without comparison, showcasing the creativity that Star Wars is capable of delivering. As exciting as it will be to see old friends like Rey and Finn again, exploring the new planets should be a thrill.
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