After many leaks and a few brief glimpses in a behind-the-scenes reel, Lucasfilm has officially unveiled the porgs from The Last Jedi. Star Wars fandom, it’s fair to say, has always had something of a complex relationship with cute creatures. Everyone loves R2-D2, and BB-8 has nearly universal approval, regardless of fans’ more general thoughts about The Force Awakens. But when it comes to the Ewoks, opinions are somewhat more controversial. As for Jar Jar Binks? The less said the better.
When it comes to cuteness and Star Wars, there’s a lot going on here, much of it having to do with longtime fans aging into an attitude in which they reject things that are specifically geared towards kids. The Ewoks were much more appreciated by small children at the time of Return of the Jedi’s release 1983 than those who had been that young when the original Star Wars came out six years earlier. The cycle has repeated itself, first with the prequels and now the new films. And now we know the next subject of the Star Wars Cute Creature Wars.
Meet the Porgs - a new species that will be featured for the first time in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Now, the official Star Wars site has formally introduced the Porgs, in an interview with Lucasfilm Story Group’s Pablo Hidalgo. Here’s what Hidalgo had to say:
Porgs are native to Ahch-To, and can be found dwelling along the cliffs of the island where Luke and Rey are. In many ways, they’re the Star Wars version of puffins. They build nests. They can fly. Their babies are called porglets… Given how rarely their island has visitors, their curiosity outweighs any skittishness they may have… Ever since that roadside scavenger let out that belch outside Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi, the idea that there’s an entire animal kingdom living amid the drama and adventure of the Star Wars saga is a compelling one. Besides, porgs are cute. You fall into those deep, soulful eyes. I think a lot of people are going to want a porg as a pet.
Hidalgo added that the characters were Last Jedi director Rian Johnson’s idea and that they are sometimes rendered using puppets and other times using CGI "depending on what’s needed."
If history is any guide, children who love Star Wars are going to love Porgs, too, and the creatures’ likenesses are going to grace a whole lot of toys, t-shirts, backpacks and other ancillary merchandise.